Giant Asian hornets are here, and they've set up home: Pumpkin-sized nest is found up a tree just a month after insects were first seen in Britain
- Nest was found at the top of a 55ft conifer tree in Tetbury, Gloucestershire
- Insects spotted in September and have since been seen in six locations
- The 'killer' hornets could pose a threat to Britain's honey bee population
- Have you been stung by one of these hornets, or have you found one and taken a picture? Please email firstname.lastname@example.org
A pumpkin-sized Asian hornets' nest has been discovered in the UK just one month after the insects were first spotted on British soil.
The nest was found at the top of a 55ft conifer tree in Tetbury, Gloucestershire, close to where the insects were first seen.
They have since been spotted in six different locations, raising concerns about the threat to Britain's honey bee population.
A pumpkin-sized Asian hornets' nest (pictured) has been discovered in the UK just one month after the insects were first spotted on British soil
Although insects have been spotted in the area before, the find is the first time a nest has been seen. It has now been destroyed by experts
Two hornets were first spotted in September, prompting experts from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to mark a 3 mile surveillance zone around the find.
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Have you been stung by one of these hornets, or have you found one and taken a picture? Please email email@example.com
The latest find is the first time a nest has been seen. It has now been destroyed.
The hornet arrived in France in 2004 and is now common across large areas of Europe.
It was discovered for the first time in Jersey and Alderney this summer. It is believed the species will not be able survive in the north of the UK due to colder winters.
The genetics of the captured hornets are being examined by the National Bee Unit, according to the British Beekeepers Association.
The nest was found at the top of a 55ft conifer tree (pictured) in Tetbury, Gloucestershire, close to where the insects were first seen
A spokesman for the Bees, Wasps and Ants Recording Society said: 'Following the recent discovery of two Asian Hornet workers near Tetbury in Gloucestershire, bee inspectors from the National Bee Unit have visited over 100 sites in the local area.
'Asian Hornets were found at six locations within 500m of the original sighting.'
Stephen Hirst, mayor at Tetbury Town Council, said: 'The town council have been very pro-active, communicating with the public and handling phone calls from those residents who think that they have seen these insects.
'We would still ask for those people who think that they have seen Asian Hornets from today to contact the town council so that we can communicate with the DEFRA task force.
'They will still be in and around Tetbury for the next two weeks to assure themselves that their work in destroying the hornet nest has been successful and Tetbury's bee community is now safe.'
A spokesperson for the Animal & Plant Health Agency said: 'Inspectors from the National Bee Unit, part of the APHA, are continuing to monitor the area for Asian hornets alongside local beekeepers. However to date, no live hornets have been seen since the nest was removed.'
INSECT INVASION: THE THREAT OF ASIAN HORNETS
The charity Plantlife has warned that the hornet 'poses a deadly threat to honeybees and other pollinators and any potential sightings should be immediately reported to the GB Non-native Species Secretariat.'
Queens build nests in April. They rapidly start laying eggs until the hive population reaches about 6,000 insects.
To feed the growing population, the hornets start hunting honey bees, chopping them up with their jaws and feeding them to larvae.
A report by the Intergovernmental Science Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, estimates that the decline of bees worldwide poses a potentially major risk to world food supplies.
Britain's bees are thought to have fallen by a third since 2007. The British Beekeepers' Association warns the public not to disturb a hornets' nest 'under any circumstances'.
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