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Pest controllers destroy Asian hornet nest in roof

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A PEST control expert wearing protective clothing had to lean out of a fourth-floor window in St Aubin recently to destroy a colony of Asian hornets that had built a nest inside a roof.

Nick Alderson of Pestokill hangs out of a window to get to the nest. Picture: DAVID FERGUSON (22291512)

The nest was discovered by beekeepers after the occupant of the flat, opposite the Trafalgar Inn, realised that what she thought were wasps buzzing around her window were in fact the predatory invasive insects that are threatening the future of the Island’s honey bees and other pollinators.

‘I killed only one of these pesky creatures a week ago,’ Leonie Hervé said. ‘At the time I dismissed it, thinking it was a loner, and would have never thought a nest was situated above my window, which was wide open, with the nest entrance only a foot away.

The penny dropped on Monday, when she heard that Asian hornets had been sighted in St Aubin and a search was on for a nest in the area. Her father, Kevin Hervé, called the Jersey Beekeepers Association, while Miss Hervé took pictures of her nasty little neighbours and reported them to the Environment Department.

‘In hindsight I should have made a report sooner, and I now think it is very important for people to do so, as there are potentially thousands of hornets in a single nest.’

Nor had been she alerted by the noise of the nest until Wednesday night, after its precise location had been established.

‘I was listening late at night when it had gone quiet in the streets below in St Aubin but all I could hear was gurgling-like sounds and tapping. It was like something from Alien,’ she said.

Yesterday,THURS beekeepers, Environment officers and Nick Alderson of Pestokill Environmental Ltd checked out her flat. Having rejected possibilities such as calling in Jersey Fire and Rescue’s hoist equipment, removing part of the roof or drilling holes through walls, Mr Alderson injected an insecticide developed in France to kill Asian hornets through a gap between the window and roofing tiles and the nest was destroyed.

However, with more nests around the Island, each containing 200 queens about to breed and begin the process of establishing new colonies next summer, the Island is stepping up its efforts to control the Asian hornet population explosion.

The invasive insect arrived in Jersey two years ago and 21 nests have been destroyed since April, with beekeepers currently looking for at least six more.

Sightings, ideally with a photograph, should be emailed to environment@gov.je or by calling 441600.

Paula Thelwell

By Paula Thelwell
author

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