Wednesday 18 May 2022
In recognition of its success, the Committee for the Environment & Infrastructure has agreed to continue funding the Asian Hornet Strategy on an ongoing basis.
A review of work over the past three years proved to the Committee how effective the current Strategy had been and now a long-term management approach is being adopted to continue keeping this invasive non-native species out of the Bailiwick.
The overall aim of the Strategy is to keep the population of Asian hornets as low as possible, to minimise their risk to the public and the island's biodiversity (e.g., native pollinators and other invertebrates). Without a coordinated control programme running from spring to autumn, Asian hornets would certainly become established and widespread across the island within a few years. If this were to happen it would then be virtually impossible to eradicate them. With this in mind, and the success of the Strategy so far at keeping this harmful invasive species at bay, the Committee for the Environment & Infrastructure has agreed to fund the Strategy each year on an ongoing basis. Initially, the Strategy was introduced as a 3-year long project.
Asian hornets have established at high numbers across several European countries, including France and Spain. Professional agencies in France recorded 4,139 Asian hornet nests across the Cotentin peninsula in Normandy in 2021, which is the region most adjacent to our islands. In that same year they had 252 known sting victims while their first fatality occurred in 2018. The total annual nest destruction costs for France are estimated at £9.8M while in Guernsey the costs of removing nests could amount to £201,500 per year if hornet density was allowed to reach levels comparable to those in Normandy.
Guernsey's Asian Hornet Strategy has received international recognition, including amongst the British Irish Council. The innovative approach of implementing island-wide trapping of Asian hornet queens in the spring has proved to be very successful in reducing the number of secondary nests and preventing establishment of this invasive non-native species.
Earlier this year, a detailed review concluded that all the objectives of Guernsey's Asian Hornet Strategy had been met and that the Strategy had been a resounding success in a number of key areas:
- Through a combination of spring trapping, public surveillance, and nest detection and destruction, Asian hornet populations have been successfully maintained at such low levels that they are not considered to be established in Guernsey;
- The rapid nest detection and carefully controlled destruction methods have minimised the risk to the public and the pest technician;
- The communication and coordination across the other islands in the Bailiwick have ensured that all of the islands are adopting the same approaches in this important work.
The full review and a summary document are available at https://gov.gg/asianhornet.