Now brace for return of Asian hornets! Warning issued after invasive insects are spotted in the UK

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Now brace for return of Asian hornets! Warning issued after invasive insects with nasty sting are spotted in the UK for first time in five months

  • National Bee Unit urged beekeepers to ‘remain vigilant’ after one was spotted
  • Most recent Asian hornet was spotted in Chelmsford, Essex, in August this year 
  • National History Museum says yellow-legged hornets could eat honeybees  

Asian hornets which ‘raid’ honey bee hives and kill them have been spotted in the UK for the first time in five months. 

The National Bee Unit has urged beekeepers to ‘remain vigilant’ after one of the hornets was spotted in Chelmsford, Essex. 

It is the first sighting of an Asian hornet since April when one was found in Felixstowe, Suffolk.  

And the Natural History Museum says the yellow-legged and striped hornets could eat our honeybees. 

The National Bee Unit has urged beekeepers to'remain vigilant' after one of the hornets was spotted in Chelmsford, Essex. Stock picture

The National Bee Unit has urged beekeepers to ‘remain vigilant’ after one of the hornets was spotted in Chelmsford, Essex. Stock picture

Bee expert Gavin Broad told the Independent: ‘The hornets raid honeybee hives by sitting outside them and capturing workers as they go in and out.

‘They chop them up and feed the thorax to their young.’

The hornets first came to Europe by accident when they were spotted in France in 2004 and it is believed they managed to get into the country in a shipment of goods from east Asia. 

They are believed to have decimated the bee population in France and have since spread to adjoining countries. 

And the Natural History Museum says the yellow-legged and striped hornets could eat our honeybees

And the Natural History Museum says the yellow-legged and striped hornets could eat our honeybees

Nicola Spence, chief plant and bee health officer at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), told the publication: ‘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.’

Although the hornets don’t pose any more of a health threat to humans than a European hornet, anyone who spots one is urged to report it to the government. 

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