If you’re in the general Essex vicinity, you may want to be on your guard and keep a good eye out for Asian hornets, as sightings of these invasive insects have now been confirmed.
Residents and beekeepers in the Rayleigh area, in particular, are being asked to be as vigilant as possible, with the National Bee Unit now monitoring the situation to see if there are any other hornets to be found.
If you do think you’ve spotted a nest, make sure you don’t approach it or try to deal with it yourself, unless you’ve got the skills and experience required to do so safely and responsibly.
While Asian hornets aren’t generally aggressive towards people and don’t pose any greater risk to health than our own wasps and bees, they can be aggravated if they believe their nest is under threat.
Nicola Spence, chief plant and bee health officer with Defra, said: “By ensuring we are alerted to possible sightings as early as possible, we can take swift and effective action to stamp out the threat posed by Asian hornets. That’s why we are working at speed to locate and investigate any nests in the area following this confirmed sighting.”
There’s an Asian Hornet Watch app you can use (available on both iPhone and Android devices) if you do think you’ve spotted something and want to report it.
This is the first time that these insects have been spotted in the UK since April this year, when a single hornet was captured in Felixstowe. While they’re not problematic from a human perspective, Asian hornets do pose risks to honey bees, so it’s important to keep on top of the situation.
In France, for example, where this species is present, it has altered the biodiversity in some regions, preying on honeybees and disrupting the local ecology.
Do you need help with wasp nest removal in Rayleigh? Get in touch with The Exterminator Pest Control team today.