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Asian hornet hunters destroy five more nests

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FIVE more Asian hornet nests have been found and destroyed, bringing the total number discovered this year to 15, as the invasive insect continues to spread across the Island.

An Asian hornet nest

The latest find was opposite the Co-op Locale store in Rue à Don, Grouville, and on the same day sightings of individual insects were reported in St John and at Jardin à Pommiers behind St Saviour’s School.

Nests were also located at the weekend close to Faldouet dolmen in St Martin and Mont Sohier in St Brelade’s Bay, and late last week at Les Cinq Chênes at Five Oaks and Le Saie on the Island’s north-east tip.

The invasive insect was first recorded in the Island in August 2016. It arrived in the south of France in 2004 and has since spread across western Europe.

John de Carteret, who heads an Asian hornet task force run by the Environment Department and the Jersey Beekeepers’ Association, said: ‘The Asian hornet is now spread across the Island and particularly in St Brelade,’ he said.

‘One was seen very close to the children’s play area by St Brelade’s Parish Hall and at the church up the hill.

‘Our volunteers are tagging hornets in the area to try to trace them back to the nests.

‘They have also been spotted at Pont du Val, close to the Lavender Farm.’

Nests have also been found in St Brelade’s Bay and sightings of individual hornets have been reported at La Moye. Last year a total of 11 nests were found and destroyed. Mr de Carteret says that all the nests found since April have been primary ones. These are built by a queen hornet in the spring to establish colonies that break up in early summer to build larger secondary nests, which can house up to 200 queens and 6,000 worker hornets. A secondary nest has yet to be discovered.

Islanders are being asked to help the task force by reporting sightings of nests and hornets, ideally with a photograph, to environment@gov.je or by calling 441600.

Paula Thelwell

By Paula Thelwell
author

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