Alien ar­rival: Asian hor­net

BBC Wildlife Magazine - - Hornets - Re­port sight­ings us­ing the free ‘Asian Hor­net Watch’ app, or on­line at non­na­tivespecies.org/alerts/asian­hor­net

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.

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