Asian hornet battle continues despite restrictions
THE fight against Asian hornets will continue despite severe restrictions being placed on Islanders’ movements, the man leading the battle has said.
Alastair Christie, Jersey’s Asian-hornet co-ordinator, says that volunteers will still be able to check traps while exercising during their dedicated two-hours of time allowed outside their homes.
‘We are doing a focused trapping programme which has all been based on where the late sightings and nests were last year,’ he said.
‘With the guidelines of two hours outside their homes, our volunteers do have permission to check the traps. For example, if they are going down to Pont Marquet Park to walk their dog, they can check a trap while they are walking past.
‘That is really the first activity we are doing this year and it will give us a head start on the rest of the season.’
Mr Christie added he was now appealing to Islanders to keep a sharp look-out for the creatures and report any sightings.
He said: ‘We are also now starting a public-awareness campaign. With the warmer weather that has been forecast, we are expecting the queen Asian hornets to emerge from hibernation in the coming days.
‘They will be looking for a nice place to build a nest, as well as to fatten themselves up after sleeping all winter.
‘We are expecting to receive reports about sightings in people’s gardens, on flowers – the ones which are already open – as well as people’s sheds, conservatories and lean-tos.
‘My request to people would be to keep their eyes open for them and report any sightings through the appropriate channels.’
Mr Christie also said that Asian hornets were often confused with their European counterparts.
He added that Asian hornets were generally dark in colour, with a distinct mustard or yellow band at their rear and with brown upper parts on their legs, and a yellow section on the lower parts of their legs.
The insects also have a bright-yellow ‘belt’ around their waist and a black head, with an orange or yellow face. Islanders who feel confident enough are being asked to try to catch any Asian hornets they see.
‘If you do catch it, put it in a freezer to kill it and we will collect it at a later date. If people can keep an empty jam jar in their cupboard, then they can use that,’ Mr Christie said.
He added that his team had found 83 nests last year – a rise from 55 in 2018 – and he was therefore expecting to see a rise in sightings during the months ahead.
Anyone who sees an Asian hornet should send an email containing a photograph of the insect and details of their location to email@example.com, or call 441633 and leave your name, contact number, the parish where the sighting took place and some brief information about what was seen.
The ‘Asian-Hornet Watch’ app can also be used to report sightings and is available through the Android and Apple app stores.
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