Last year, it was reported that killer Asian hornets (also known as yellow-legged hornets) reached record levels in the UK, with over 70 of the insects discovered in Jersey for the first time… and now, it seems, that they’re staging a comeback this year, as well, popping up around the UK over the last few weeks.

Often referred to as murder hornets, the insects themselves are an invasive species, typically seen in parts of Asia, such as Japan and India. However, they can also be found in some southern parts of the RUssian Far East and further into south-east Asia.

They are among the biggest species of wasps in the world, with queens reaching over 5cm long and worker wasps growing to around 4cm long. They’re characterised by an orange head and dark thorax, with a banded yellow, black and brown abdomen.

While they do pose a risk to those likely to have allergic reactions when stung, it’s important to remember that this is also true for the UK’s native wasp and bee populations and Asian hornets aren’t more dangerous for humans. 

However, they do pose a bigger threat where our bee populations are concerned. According to the Natural History Museum, hornet attacks on bees involve chewing the head, abdomen and legs off honeybees before transporting the thorax (which is full of protein) back to their nest. 

These particular wasps also have a penchant for eating honey bee broods, invading colonies and entering a ‘slaughter phase’, where they kill bee after bee and then spend days or even weeks preying on the bee pupae and larvae.


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