Alien arrival: Asian hornet
The Asian, or yellow-legged, hornet is native to South-east Asia, and was first seen in Europe in south-west France in 2004, probably having been introduced as a stowaway in pottery imported from China. It has since spread across France, and there are now records from the Channel Islands, too. Since 2016 there have been isolated sightings in southern England, but any nests were rapidly eradicated. There are concerns about the species’ impact on biodiversity, particularly pollinating insects, because of its wide range of prey. A recent study showed that the Asian hornet is more effective than the European hornet at establishing new nests, and it is also considered bolder and more active and exploratory than its European cousin.