Tuesday 23 April 2019
Since the middle of March, staff working for Agriculture, Countryside & Land Management Services (ACLMS) have been busy setting up a comprehensive island wide programme to trap queen Asian hornets as they emerge from hibernation in the spring or arrive here from further afield - so called the "Spring Queening" project.
This ambitious project is part of a strategy aimed at reducing the risks posed by the invasive, non-native Asian hornet. If successful, "Spring Queening" will reduce the development of secondary nests during the year, restricting the growth of the hornet population on Guernsey.
The Asian hornet team have delivered a total of 275 specially baited traps, spaced approximately 500m apart, covering the whole of Guernsey. Each of these are being regularly checked by volunteers in an attempt to capture as many of these spring queens as possible.
With the prolonged periods of sunshine and recent increase in temperature the Asian hornet team predicted that the traps would start picking up hornets over the Easter weekend. On Thursday April 18th the first queen Asian hornet was caught in a trap being looked after by Mrs Lucy Harnden of La Mazotte, Vale. Mrs Harnden put up her trap on March 18th in a cherry tree in her back garden and checked it every day.
Francis Russell - Project Coordinator (Asian Hornet Strategy) says:
"When I spoke to Mrs Harnden she sounded very confident that her trap had caught an Asian hornet. During the afternoon she had noticed something that appeared quite different from a couple of wasps that had also entered the trap. She described it as being larger and having bright orange markings on the abdomen. I asked her to leave the trap where it was until I arrived. As soon as I looked at the trap I was able to confirm a positive identification."
"We cannot emphasise enough the important role played by members of the public in reporting potential Asian hornet sightings or looking out for small nests made by the queens at this time of year. Our aim is to ensure that we can keep the populations of Asian hornet as low as possible, to protect public health and the Island's biodiversity, and we remain especially grateful for the assistance of the volunteers involved with the Spring Queening project."