First 'killer' hornet found in Sark

  • Published
Asian HornetImage source, Barry Wells
Image caption,
The hornet has been sent to the National Bee Unit, Food and Environment Research Agency (Fera) for genetic testing

A hornet which can kill up to 50 bees a day has been found in Sark in the Channel Islands for the first time.

The Asian hornet has been positively identified by States of Guernsey experts and sent for genetic testing.

The first sightings of Asian hornets in the Channel Islands were in Alderney in July last year, and then Jersey in August.

The public are advised to photograph and report the "aggressive predator" of honey bees if spotted.

The hornet found in Sark measured 22mm (just under 1in) and beekeepers in the Channel Islands have been notified.

Image source, Barry Wells
Image caption,
Asian hornets frequently nest high in trees

Identifying an Asian hornet (Vespa velutina)

Vespa velutina queens are up to 3cm (1.2in) in length; workers up to 25mm (1in)

Entirely dark brown or black velvety body, bordered with a fine yellow band

Only one band on the abdomen: 4th abdominal segment almost entirely yellow/orange

Legs brown with yellow ends

Head black with an orange-yellow face

Source: National Bee Unit

The Guernsey Beekeeping Association has advised its members to increase vigilance and monitoring of bee hives through the use of hornet traps.

Anyone spotting what they believe to be Asian hornet is recommended to watch it long enough to determine the direction of travel as this may be helpful in finding a nest site.

As with wasps and bees, the hornets have a painful sting so people should avoid direct contact and never attempt to disturb a hornets' nest.

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