A mammoth Asian hornets’ nest has been discovered for the first time in the UK - just one month after the first “killer” insects were spotted.
As large as a giant pumpkin, the pests’ nest was found at the top of a 55ft conifer tree, close to the original sightings in Tetbury, Gloucestershire.
Experts logged and photographed the find before they destroyed it.
A 20km incident zone was imposed by the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) after the first two Asian hornets were discovered in mid September.
Tetbury’s hornet horror continued after several Asian “killer” hornets were caught in six different locations. A further sighting has been recorded 40 miles away in the Mendip Hills in Somerset.
Concerns have been raised because the pests pose a threat to Britain’s honey bee population, although they cause no more harm to humans than a regular bee.
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.
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.”