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Asian hornets get a buzz out of beer in summer heat

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THE hot and dry weather is driving Jersey’s Asian hornets to drink – and they seem particularly partial to a pint.

Asian hornet enjoying a pint in Sark Picture: Leo William Jeune (25215626)

Several of the invasive insects have been spotted around water features and reservoirs in the Channel Islands during recent days, with numerous sightings at the pond at Howard Davis Park.

And experts have revealed that as well as enjoying a cooling sip of water, the hornets are also fond of beer, especially dark, hoppy ales.

An Asian hornet was recently photographed hovering over a pint at the Mermaid Inn in Sark, and there have been other unconfirmed reports of sightings in beer gardens in Guernsey.

For years hornet hunters in France have been using beer in their attractants, and Jersey’s team now mix Guinness with their bait.

But during the current spell of hot and dry weather, Islanders are much more likely to see them near ponds and reservoirs as they collect water for their nests.

Alastair Christie, Jersey’s Asian hornet co-ordinator, said: ‘We know they like beer, particularly dark beer as it tends to be sweeter.

‘We have also received reports of them near water and we would encourage anyone with a pond at home to keep a look out for them.

‘They will be building nests at the moment and they do this by mixing wood with saliva, and saliva needs water.

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‘We also know that they do sometimes build nests in enclosed spaces such as in roof spaces. These places will be getting very hot in this weather, and one way by which insects cool their nests is bringing water into it and evaporating it.’

So far this year 16 primary nests have been discovered, compared to 12 in 2018. There have been no reports of the much larger secondary nests.

Reports of individual Asian hornets have dropped recently – something which Mr Christie says is the ‘calm before the storm’.

‘The earlier sightings would be the queens foraging for materials to build their nests. Now the queens will be in rearing their first workers, and not out and about,’ he added.

Sightings can be reported by emailing asianhornet@gov.je, phoning 441633 or through the Asian Hornet app.

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