Oh Good – We've Been Urged To 'Stay Vigilant' Over Stinging Asian Hornets

SOPA Images via Getty Images

Any big plans coming up? No? Oh, me? Just vibrating with nerves over the venomous hornets that have made their way to the UK from Asia. Keeping it low-key at the moment.

Yep, that’s right. While these hornets are native to Southeast Asia, including Thailand, Malaysia, China, and Vietnam, these poisonous little horrors have made their way to the UK, somehow. We really need to work on being more off-putting to bugs, in my opinion.

Asian hornets have been spotted in Guernsey but residents are urged to not kill the hornets and instead take a photograph and note which way the bug is flying. This follows the news that 38 queen Asian hornets were caught during the spring, a very normal three-fold increase from the previous year.

Cool, cool, cool.

Public urged to remain vigilant following sightings in Dover and Kent

So, here’s the good news because yes, there is actually some: these hornets pose no bigger risk to human health than our native wasps, according to the UK Government.

Now, the bad news. They do pose a risk to honey bees and our other beneficial insects and work is underway to monitor hornet activity and identify nearby nests to protect our native bugs. Yikes.

According to the UK Gov, there have already been several sightings of Asian hornets this year and there have been six since just April when a single Asian hornet was captured near Newcastle-Upon Tyne.

What to do if you’re stung by an Asian hornet

According to South West Hampshire Beekeepers, an Asian hornet sting, while painful, shouldn’t cause lasting harm to you. However if you are stung, apply a cold compress or ice pack to the sting site, elevate the sting area, avoid scratching and, if need be, take painkillers to relieve the pain.

However, the beekeepers do urge that you seek medical advice if you are stung in the mouth, throat, or near the eyes, if a wound infection develops or if flu-like symptoms develop.

What to do if you see an Asian hornet

According to Nicola Spence, the Chief Plant and Bee Health Officer:

“Please continue to look out for any Asian hornets and if you think you’ve spotted one, report your sighting through the Asian hornet app or online.

“Asian hornet nests will be smaller at this time in the year but we are still asking people to be vigilant.”

She added, “by ensuring we are alerted to possible sightings as early as possible, we can take swift and effective action to stamp out the threat posed by Asian hornets.”

Furthermore, UK residents are urged to not approach or disturb suspected nests as Asian hornets don’t tend to be aggressive towards humans but, like many other creatures, the exception is when they feel that their nests are under threat.

Sightings can reported on the Asian Hornet Watch app on both iPhone and Android phones or, alternatively, you can email your sighting details with a photograph and note of location to alertnonnative@ceh.ac.uk