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Asian killer hornet
Photograph: Shutterstock

A load of killer Asian hornets have been spotted just outside London

The creatures pose a significant risk to bees

Written by
Faima Bakar
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Bees aren’t just good for honey, they benefit humans a lot more than you may realise (we depend on them to fertilise many of our crops, for example). But bees have predators – and some foreign ones have just been spotted in the UK

A load of killer hornets have been found in Essex, and while they won’t harm humans, apparently they could pose a threat to our bee population unless tamed.

The National Bee Unit is now monitoring the area to investigate further sightings of the hornet, which is native to East Asia and cannot have travelled here naturally.

A spokesperson from the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds said that the insect posed a ‘significant threat’ to our wildlife, adding: ’The Asian hornet is a non-native species in the UK, as it hails from East Asia and could not arrive in the UK naturally. 

’The concern around the Asian hornet is that it is a significant predator of bees. In France, it has consumed large numbers of bees, including the well-known European honey bee and many lesser-known solitary and colonial bee species.’

People who think they’ve seen an Asian hornet – which is mostly black with a yellow rear and legs – should report this using the iPhone and Android app ‘Asian Hornet Watch’ or by using an online report form. You can also e-mail alertnonnative@ceh.ac.uk.

ICYMI: here’s how to visit the Queen’s grave at St George’s Chapel in Windsor.

Plus: why were 5,000 ‘ghost flights’ allowed to fly in British airspace since 2019?

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