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Asian hornet update: Asian hornets driven to drink

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Thursday 11 July 2019

The Asian Hornet Team are appealing to members of the public for help in detecting worker hornets after a newly recorded behaviour was observed in Jersey yesterday.

It appears that with the recent prolonged spell of dry, warm weather the Asian hornets on Jersey are seeking out suitable places to collect water. Many species of insects such as honeybees can regularly be seen taking a drink but recent observations at a pond in Howard Davis Park, St Helier have aroused the attention of the Asian Hornet Team. As many as 30 hornets in one hour were recorded drinking water from the pond in this popular Jersey Park.

Francis Russell - Project Coordinator for the Asian Hornet Strategy says:

"Water is really important for hornets as their nests are continually being expanded during the summer months. The worker hornets will seek out fence panels, sheds and posts; using their jaws to collect wood shavings which they convert topapier-mâchéby pulping it with saliva and water. This is then shaped with their mouthparts to form the nest structure. Now that we know that hornets will be attracted to water, especially while this hot weather persists, we are encouraging everyone with a pond or water feature to have a close look during this hot weather to see if any hornets are calling in for a drink.

"It has been over a month since we had any positive sightings of Asian hornets. We suspected that July might be a quiet time as any hornets that evaded capture in the spring will hopefully be low in numbers until they start moving into the larger secondary nests and raising many more workers.

"However, there is no room for complacency as we know how industrious these insects can be and how quickly their nests can build up whilst they remain undetected. Hearing about this new behaviour from our colleagues in Jersey is really helpful, it provides another thing we can all look out for especially if it gets noticed early as this will give a clear indication that hornets are nesting close by."

Please contact the Asian Hornet Team if you spot an Asian hornet by Email at asianhornet@gov.gg or phone us on 01481 234567. Don't forget to include a photo and location of your record. Information about the direction the hornet flies in is helpful for the Asian Hornet Team who can then start tracking worker hornets back to their nest which can be safely treated and taken down.

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