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Asian hornets: Branchage warning issued after farm worker disturbs nest and suffers multiple stings

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ISLANDERS are being warned to take extra precautions during branchage season after a farm worker was stung multiple times by a swarm of Asian hornets after disturbing a nest with his tractor while cutting a hedge.

Asian hornet Picture: DAVID WALKER. (25574300)

The incident occurred at around 4pm on Tuesday on Les Ruettes near Grands Vaux reservoir.

Alastair Christie, the Island’s Asian hornet co-ordinator, attended the scene and said that the man had been stung ‘numerous’ times but was a ‘pretty tough guy’ and seemed relatively calm.

‘When I arrived I was relieved to see that, while he had clearly been stung numerous times, he seemed okay.

‘He took some antihistamines and, to my knowledge, didn’t go to the doctor, but what we always advise is that if you get stung and your symptoms change, even hours later, you should seek medical assistance straight away.’

Mr Christie also warned that this was the first time his team had found a nest at ground level.

‘Up until now, all of the nests we have found have been up in trees or high up in buildings, so this location is very unusual.We know that around 1% of nests found in France are at ground level but it is very rare.

‘The advice we would give to any gardeners or outside workers would be to check the area for nests before carrying out any work.

‘We don’t want to cause any panic and want to remind people that hornets are in fact far more docile and much less bothersome than wasps. But they will always protect their nests.’

Mr Christie, who has been leading the battle against the invasive pest, confirmed that a total of 44 nests had been found so far this year, predominately in the east of the Island. A total of 30 nests were found in 2018.

‘We would continue to encourage reports of sightings and are due to give out advice sheets to outside workers and contractors soon.’

Krystle Higgins

By Krystle Higgins
Reporter

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