Friday 04 June 2021
After an unusually quiet spring, the arrival of warmer weather over the last week has seen a large influx in queen Asian hornet movements.
The first Asian hornet of the year was positively identified in a trap opposite Pulias pond in the Vale on 21 April. There have since been no sightings until the recent Bank Holiday Monday whereby three more queen hornets have been captured in the last week.
This brings the total of confirmed queen Asian hornet sightings in 2021 so far to five, of which four have been successfully trapped by volunteers who have been monitoring the special hornet traps set up every 500m, across the whole of Guernsey.
Based on previous years' hornet movements, the indications suggest that these hornets are all newly arrived from France but there could well be earlier arrivals that have remained undetected, in which case they may already have started building nests and raising worker hornets.
Because of this and the recent influx, Islanders are encouraged to remain vigilant for queen hornets for the next week or two, which may be found constructing these small nests in sheds or outbuildings. As three of the captured hornets were trapped in the Vale, extra vigilance in this area could be particularly prudent, however further hornets could be residing in any location across the Bailiwick.
After this time, it is likely that they will have moved on with a handful of worker hornets to go and build their larger secondary nests; This will mark the end of the "Spring Queening" phase of the Asian Hornet Strategy and the start of the "Track Don't Trample" phase.
Francis Russell, Project Coordinator for the Asian Hornet Strategy said:
"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.
"The early nest made by the queen hornet is similar in appearance to those made by a queen wasp. It is usually found on a sheltered rafter or ceiling, made of a pale brown papery material and starts off about the size of a golf ball. If you have any doubt about what you have seen/found, please try to take a picture and get in contact - we will be more than happy to help you identify it.
"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. We remain especially grateful for the assistance of the volunteers involved with the Spring Queening project and to all Islanders who play a part in helping us detect and capture this invasive species."