Killer hornet warning
KILLER Asian hornets could soon pose a risk to people in North Wales and the local honey bee population, says an expert.
The insects have killed six people in France in the past year and are known for killing wild bees and honey bees.
Following the arrival of Asian hornets in the UK, Professor Pete Barrar, director of the National Beekeeping Centre at Bodnant Welsh Food Centre in the Conwy Valley, has warned beekeepers in North Wales to be vigilant.
He said: “The Asian hornet comes from central Asia and is infamous for killing wild bees and honey bees, one of our most vital pollinators.
“Asian hornets arrived in France in 2004 and are now common across large areas of Europe.
“In some areas, they have killed off 60% of the native honey bee population.
“They really are nasty beasts, as they devour the bees’ heads and legs and feed it to their young.
“If they are bothered, they will attack humans and can kill.”
Asian hornets are thought to have been inadvertently imported to France in 2004 in a shipment of pottery from China.
Some of the people stung have died after suffering anaphylactic shock, and the insects have now been seen in Devon, Jersey and Gloustershire.
Prof Barrar said: “Beekeepers in Wales need to be vigilant as the hornets can travel 40km a day, so could easily get here fast.
“I would urge beekeepers to put hornet traps in their hives so that we know what the situation is, to see if there are any in the area already.
“If there are, the hives need to be found and destroyed, as I fear a serious ecological and economic impact.
“It is vital that we get rid of any nest before the queens emerge, because there are about 200 queens in each nest and, once they’re out and mated, they’re lost to us.”
● Professor Pete Barrar is worried about Asian hornets