Venomous Asian hornets spotted as British drinkers warned they'll 'invade pubs'

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Asian hornets have been spotted in Guernsey amid fears over a rising population (Image: Asian Hornet Team - Guernsey)
Asian hornets have been spotted in Guernsey amid fears over a rising population (Image: Asian Hornet Team - Guernsey)

'Toxic' Asian hornets have been spotted in the British Isles just weeks after people were warned they could soon start invading pubs in the UK.

A video shared by the Asian Hornet Team in Guernsey shows the venomous insect flying around one of the group's 'bait stations' in the coastal area of Icart Point.

One caption alongside the clip says: This is a worker hornet visiting one of the bait stations at Icart. We're getting closer to the nest..."

Native to Asia but now increasingly common in mainland Europe, the hornets inflict a severe pain with their sting by injecting a venom called mandarotoxin. This is a neurotoxin that affects the nervous system, causing temporary paralysis and a loss of sensation around the sting.

Venomous Asian hornets spotted as British drinkers warned they'll 'invade pubs' erideuiqtqiqdrinvThe hornets inflict a severe pain by injecting a venom called mandarotoxin (Getty Images)

The venom can cause people with certain allergies to go into anaphylactic shock, and these people can die within minutes of being attacked unless they receive urgent medical treatment. While they have been mostly confined to the Channel Islands so far, six sighting have been made on mainland Britain this year alone. An Asian hornet was spotted in Kent this July, and another was even captured as far north as Newcastle-upon-Tyne back in April.

Watford leading the way off the pitch on Green Football Weekend by adding beesWatford leading the way off the pitch on Green Football Weekend by adding bees

Guernsey's Asian chief hornet huntsman recently told the Daily Star that the hornets have developed a taste for beer - leading to fears that they could invade the UK's pubs as they start to spread to the mainland. He said to the newspaper: "We have noticed over the last few summers that Asian hornets have a taste for alcohol.

"We have pictures of hornets over beer glasses. We've got them over glasses of Champagne and they do seem to find summer parties, barbecues, pub gardens and that's where we occasionally get reports of Asian hornets turning up and that's a good place for us to start tracking and working out where their nests are."

As well as Guernsey, this year has also seen an "astronomical" rise in the number of hornets on the neighbouring Channel Island of Jersey, which is seen as the insects' front line in Britain. A total of 55 queens were caught and 174 nests were discovered on Jersey in 2022 - but this year, a whopping 438 queens have been trapped, suggesting a huge rise in the number of nests.

The species began to spread through Europe in 2004 after arriving in the south of France inside a freight ship from east Asia, and were first were spotted on Jersey in late 2016. After years of establishing themselves on Jersey and Guernsey, they made it to southern England last year, leading to calls for a "people’s army" to help fight off an invasion.

Benedict Tetzlaff-Deas

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