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Beware: Giant wasps are on their way!

Asian hornet

Asian hornet

A PEST expert has urged Wigan folk to report any signs of a new and dangerous giant wasp.

Elliot Lowe of Cavalry Pest Solutions in Swinley is warning people about an influx of predatory Asian hornets that could eat up to 50 honey bees each a day.

Originally from China, the deadly insects have already spread across Asia and Europe.

And six people in France have died from anaphylactic shock after being stung.

Now, Mr Lowe is appealing to residents to be very cautious of the creatures and to contact authorities if any are spotted, especially as the weather hots up.

He said: “I would urge anyone who thinks they may have seen one to report it, along with a photograph and details of the location to alert_nonnative@ceh.ac.uk.

“Like the European hornet, the Asian hornet is not generally aggressive but shouldn’t be provoked as stings can be painful and obviously there are reports that people have died as a result of being stung.

“You will be able to spot the insect as it makes large nests in tall trees, although nests have also been found in garages and sheds.

“It is a highly effective predator of insects, including honey bees and other environmentally beneficial insects and can inflict significant losses to bee colonies.”

Swarms of the hornets are capable of wiping out entire honey bee hives within hours.

The Asian hornet is not yet in the UK although pest controllers amongst others have been on alert for a number of months.

And if/when it eventually reaches Britain the most likely landing place will be the south of England as it may be able to cross the Channel and the South will best provide the weather conditions for it to thrive.

But other routes could be on imported goods such as pot plants, timber and flowers.

The queens may be around 30mm long, males 24mm and worker bees are about 20mm.

They have characteristic yellow legs and the queens have a yellow stripe around a dark brown or black body.

Beekeepers have been sent email alerts asking them to be vigilant for the insects as the country’s bees are already under unprecedented threat.

There are now just 25 native species and numbers may be as low as 50,000 at the height of summer.

 

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