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Asian hornets seek water in dry spell

News | Published:

WARM WEATHER has driven Asian hornets to drink.

Asian hornet Queen.

The newly-recorded behaviour was spotted in Jersey on Wednesday.

It appears that with the recent prolonged spell of dry, warm weather the Asian hornets on Jersey are seeking out suitable places to collect water. As many as 30 in one hour were recorded drinking water from the pond in Howard Davis Park, St Helier.

Francis Russell, project coordinator for the Asian Hornet Strategy in Guernsey, said: ‘Water is really important for hornets as their nests are continually being expanded during the summer months. The worker hornets will seek out fence panels, sheds and posts, using their jaws to collect wood shavings which they convert to papier maché by pulping it with saliva and water. This is then shaped with their mouthparts to form the nest structure. Now we know that hornets will be attracted to water, especially while this hot weather persists, we are encouraging everyone with a pond or water feature to have a close look during this hot weather to see if any hornets are calling in for a drink.’

Asian hornets are a threat to local wildlife, in particular honey bees. The last recorded sighting of Asian hornets on Guernsey was on 10 June when a lone worker was trapped close to a beekeepers’ hives off Forest Road.

‘We suspected that July might be a quiet time as any hornets that evaded capture in the spring will hopefully be low in numbers until they start moving into the larger secondary nests and raising many more workers.

‘However, there is no room for complacency as we know how industrious these insects can be and how quickly their nests can build up while they remain undetected. Hearing about this new behaviour from our colleagues in Jersey is really helpful, it provides another thing we can all look out for, especially if it gets noticed early as this will give a clear indication that hornets are nesting close by.’

Ten queen hornets were caught on Guernsey this spring.

At the Mermaid Inn, Sark, an Asian hornet was photographed hovering over a pint of beer. On Jersey, they were seen eating meat from a plate prepared for a barbecue.

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The first recorded sighting of an Asian hornet in Guernsey was in March 2017. Over the last two years the number of Asian hornet nests found in Guernsey increased from two in 2017 to eight in 2018.

Contact the Asian hornet team if you spot one by email at asianhornet@gov.gg or call 234567.

Don’t forget to include a photo and the location of your record. Information about the direction the hornet flies in is helpful so the team can then start tracking worker hornets back to their nest.

Nick Mann

By Nick Mann

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