Earlier this month, a large Asian hornet nest was been found in an abandoned house in St Brelades, a picturesque town located on the Channel Island in the United Kingdom. This discovery has raised concerns among locals and scientists, as the Asian hornet is considered an invasive species in several parts of the world, including the United Kingdom. Authorities are now warning citizens to be on the look out for these hornets and their nets, both for personal safety and to prevent the species from invading the UK.
Large Asian Hornet Nests Discovered in Abandoned House in St Brelades, Channel Island
One of the largest Asian Hornet nests seen this year in the UK was found in Jersey, measuring in at about 15 inches. This is what authorities consider to be the “front line” against the invasive species, and the last defense from the wasps invading the rest of the UK. The nest was found attached to the ceiling of an abandoned home, with about 1,500 inside it. This marks 171 found this year, up 71 from this time last year. Authorities are now concerned that the goal of keeping the species out of the rest of the UK might be slipping away. (1)
Invasive Species and Arrival in the British Isles
The Asian hornet, scientifically known as Vespa velutina nigrithorax, is native to Southeast Asia. In recent years, it has become increasingly problematic in several parts of the world. The species is considered invasive due to its ability to displace local hornet populations and wreak havoc on ecosystems. They are known to prey on bees, posing a significant threat to honeybee populations and the pollination services they provide. In addition, Asian hornets can be aggressive towards humans, making their presence a cause for concern. (2, 3)
Introduction to the British Isles
The first entry point for Asian hornets into Europe was in the south of France, where they are believed to have arrived inside a nest hidden aboard a ship. Since then, the species has gradually spread across Europe, including the United Kingdom. The Channel Islands, including St Brelades, are particularly susceptible to the presence of Asian hornets due to their proximity to mainland Europe.
What to Do If You Encounter an Asian Hornet Nest
The discovery of large Asian hornet nests in an abandoned house in St. Brelades has prompted the need for a better understanding of how to effectively handle such situations. These aggressive and dangerous hornets can be found in many locations. These include:
Houses and buildings
Nests in trees and shrubs
Anywhere that they can find a warm place to hide during the winter months.
It is essential to prioritize safety when dealing with the nests, as Asian hornets can be highly aggressive when their habitat is disturbed. Here are some guidelines to follow if you come across an Asian hornet nest:
Observe and Report: Do not attempt to disturb the nest or remove it yourself. Instead, take note of its location and report it to the appropriate local authorities. In the UK, the Animal and Plant Health Agency should be notified as they have the expertise and resources to handle the situation.
Maintain Distance: Keep a safe distance from the nest and avoid provoking the hornets. Asian hornets can be particularly aggressive in defending their nests, and their stings can be painful and potentially dangerous if an individual is allergic.
Educate Yourself: Familiarize yourself with Asian hornet characteristics and behavior to better understand the risks involved. This knowledge can help you avoid accidental encounters and ensure your safety.
Protect Your Property: If an Asian hornet nest is near your home or property, take precautions to limit its access indoors. Seal any cracks or small openings that may allow the hornets to enter your living spaces.
Seek Professional Assistance: If you suspect that an Asian hornet nest is located on your property, it is advisable to contact professional pest control services. They have the necessary skills and equipment to handle the situation safely and effectively.
Remember, it is always best to leave the management of Asian hornet colonies to experts who are knowledgeable about their behavior and have the proper tools to handle them safely.
The Bottom Line
The discovery of large Asian hornet nests in an abandoned house in St Brelades, Channel Island, is a cause for concern. This invasive species has the potential to disrupt local ecosystems and pose a threat to bee populations. It is crucial for individuals to be aware of the dangers associated with coming across an Asian hornet nest and to report sightings promptly to the appropriate authorities. By taking these precautions and seeking professional assistance when necessary, we can help mitigate the impact of this invasive species and protect our local ecosystems.