The wasp and hornet season is getting underway. We are getting calls on a daily basis for the destruction of nuisance wasp and hornet nests. The main offender is the wasp as there are so many more species of these in England, some 250 different varieties most of which are solitary, but it is the handful of social wasp species that colonise and cause most of the problems in domestic properties and gardens. With hornets it is usually the European Hornet that causes problems. These larger wasps are often cause for concern and many people are fearful of them. In actual fact both insects are non-aggressive unless they are disturbed or feel that their nest is being threatened.
A new danger heading our way is the Asian Hornet, a large fearsome looking insect with a 6mm sting, a body length of 50mm and a wingspan of 75mm, this is the worlds largest hornet. It has been responsible for the death of 28 people in China last year and 6 in France. It could well be heading our way according to a House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee report on invasive non-native species. The Asian Hornet has made its way to France and in 2012 had successfully colonised 39 of France's 100 Departements. The insect travels in imported soil, plants, cut flowers, fruit and timber and potentially could fly across the channel. Death has been caused by anaphylactic shock and kidney failure. The hornets are carnivorous and would prey on native honeybees, wasps and other insects. They are distinctive by their yellow feet.
Apart from looking fearsome they can spray their venom which can also dissolve human flesh, not an insect to be messed with! Keep away from them and if you think you have spotted one of the new species try to take a picture and let the authorities know. They are keen to monitor the arrival and spread of this new insect. For local disturbances call Pest Purge to get shot of them.