Asian hornets with sting which can kill have invaded the UK - and it could cost £7million
Two-inch long Asian hornets have invaded the UK, and researchers warn the damage they can cause could cost millions of pounds, and wreak havoc on the already dwindling bee population. An Asian hornet’s sting is so powerful and packed with so much venom it can cause victims to go into anaphylactic shock, dying within minutes from being attacked if they are allergic.
Asian hornets are smaller than native hornets and have distinctive yellow-tipped legs plus a dark brown or black velvety body and a dark abdomen.
The specimen, originally from south-east Asia, were first accidentally introduced to France in 2003, and they have made their way to the UK, with the first recorded case in 2016.
Now, experts are once again warning of the yellow and black insects, which prey on other insects, including bees, with research suggesting they could cost the UK £7.6million.
A study from French scientists revealed the only way to control the population of Asian hornets is by destroying their nests and bait traps.
And the research, which looked at how rapidly populations can spread, revealed the staggering cost to Europe.
The team divided the costs into three groups - prevention, fighting the invasion, and damage caused by the invasion.
The results indicated to eradicate Asian hornets would be 11.9million euros (£10.5million) for France, 9million euros (£8million) for Italy and 8.6million euros (£7.6million) for the UK.
Research leader Professor Franck Courchamp said: "In 2006, only two years after the hornet was first observed in France, three departments were already invaded and the cost of nest destruction was estimated at 408,000 euros.