Asian hornets arrived in France in 2004 and have now spread throughout much of western Europe. They arrived in Jersey in the autumn of 2016 and since then the Environment Department, in collaboration with the Jersey Asian Hornet Group, a group of volunteers, have been controlling their numbers in Jersey by catching the queen hornets in the spring and tracking their nests in the summer and autumn. The nests are then destroyed.
If you think that you have seen an Asian hornet, even just a single hornet it is important to report it. A report is usually the first step in the process of tracking the nest. If possible, and if safe to do so, a photograph will help verify the sighting.
Sightings can be reported by:
- Email to firstname.lastname@example.org
- Telephone call to 441633
- Using the Asian Hornet Watch app, free to download from app stores. There is a convenient “check your ID” feature.
Asian hornets are generally black/dark brown with an orange/mustard back across their abdomen. Near their “waist” there is a fine creamy yellow “belt”. The lower half of their legs are yellow. They are bigger than honeybees and wasps but smaller than our native European hornet.
Vespa velutina is an invasive species to Jersey. They predate upon other insects, and are a threat to our native insect ecology, including bumble bees, wasps, flies, butterflies and honey bees. None of these species have any defence against this invader.
Nests are started by the queens in the spring when they have emerged from their winter hibernation, and grow from the size of a tennis ball to the size of a melon by June time. These nests are often found in carports, lean-tos, garages, and bramble patches. In July the hornets usually relocate high into trees, but nests have been found lower down in hedges, building roof spaces, cliffs and in the ground. Nests are extremely well camouflaged amongst foliage and difficult to see.
Individually, hornets present little risk if they are left alone. However, if a nest is disturbed, hornets may react very aggressively. If you suspect a hornets nest, DO NOT approach it but report it, and the situation will be assessed and made safe.