Although it’s very uncommon to find one, hornets do live, survive, and thrive in the UK. During the Spring of this year you may recall a lot of articles in the news about “deadly Asian Hornet invasions” set to hit the UK.
Earlier this year (2019) it was recorded that on the island of Jersey there were 80 hornet sighting- a vast improvement over the 2018 recording of just 3.
Hornets look very similar to the common yellow jacket wasp, however they are much larger in size- some species of hornet can reach up to 5.5cm in length. In fact, contrary to popular belief, hornets aren’t a separate species of insect – they are actually just a subspecies of wasp.
Why should we be worried about hornets?
People often think of hornets as a much larger and more aggressive version of wasps, however this is not true. Hornets are actually much less likely to attack a human than wasps are. Their stings on the other hand are more painful due to the chemicals found in a hornets venom, also due to their larger size they release the most venom out of all known stinging insects which can cause severe pain and potential reactions. Despite this hornets will rarely use their sting unless their nest is threatened- so if you need a nest removing it is important to ring a professional!
The real damage hornets will do is to our environment. Only one species of hornet is native to the UK – the European Hornet (Vespa Crabro), all the other species found in the UK have migrated over from other countries, either through natural migration or through humans travelling and transporting foreign goods around the globe.
When hornet populations are controlled they are no issue, but if the population grows too large or is out of balance with the surrounding ecosystem they can vastly damage other species. A single hornet can kill and eat up to 50 honey bees every day. At its peak a hornet colony will contain up to 700 workers – this means that in a day a single colony could kill and devour up to 35,000 bees!
This is horrible to think about when we are sadly being alerted to the decaying bee population. If you have a hornet net in or around your property do not hesitate to contact us and book a full property survey.