Killer hor­net warn­ing

Caernarfon Herald - - NEWS -

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

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