2021 hornet queen sightings close to highest annual total

ASIAN hornet sightings could reach record levels this summer – with the number of queens spotted already close to surpassing the highest total observed in a single year.

Queen Asian Hornet nests currently being built in Jersey. Picture: JOHN DE CARTERET (30990088)
Queen Asian Hornet nests currently being built in Jersey. Picture: JOHN DE CARTERET (30990088)

To date in 2021, a total of 63 queens have been discovered – 38 by members of the public and 25 caught in traps spread around the Island. The highest recorded number came in 2019 when 69 were found.

Alastair Christie, Jersey’s Asian hornet co-ordinator, said that although the figure was slightly alarming, he was ‘not unduly worried’ about how the season was going.

He said: ‘We are on track to surpass 2019 numbers, but trapping in 2019 was minimal and we are also a lot better at it now. So with the increase in trapping and the help from the public it stands to reason that we would find more. I am hoping that we have caught a greater proportion of the queens this year and that the number of nests won’t be as high.’

nWhere hornets have been seen

Six nests have also been spotted. However, Mr Christie said this was half the amount located by this time in 2019.

He said: ‘I am optimistic that we are doing a good job of catching the queens,’ adding that the first worker hornets would be emerging in the next few weeks.

A local team of volunteers will soon begin tracking the insects, which Mr Christie said would help form a ‘clearer picture’ of how the rest of the year could play out.

Islanders are being encouraged to check their sheds, garages and other outdoor areas for nests, and to report any sightings of an Asian hornet by emailing asianhornet@gov.je, attaching a photo if possible. The species can be identified by their darker colour, a yellow/orange band across their lower end, a bright pale-yellow belt at the waist and the yellow lower half of their legs.

Mr Christie added that the group was constantly seeking new recruits to help with the tracking process, and can be contacted on 441633.

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