Fall in number of sightings of Asian hornet surprises team
ASIAN hornet sightings are down by 28% compared to this time last year.
The last nest that was destroyed in Guernsey was on 25 October 2019 and was found inside a granite wall at Havelet, St Peter Port.
A nest was located and dealt with on Sark five days later.
A spokesman for the Asian hornet team said that the fall in the number of reported sightings was surprising after an unusual spring which saw people spending more time in their gardens and on DIY during the period when movement restrictions were imposed due to Covid-19.
‘This increased leisure time should have benefited the work of the AHT in that people had more time to notice and hopefully report any suspicious-looking insects.
‘The positive news it that there have been no confirmed sightings of Asian hornets on Guernsey, Herm or Sark for over 14 weeks.’
The last record from Guernsey was 3 June when a queen hornet was found in a property in St Saviour’s.
States workers in Alderney are on the trail of a suspected secondary nest after picking up a number of worker hornets in traps along the south coast.
Since mid-August, the Asian hornet team has been using volunteers to monitor 30 tracking stations across the island in an attempt to attract worker hornets that may have a nest somewhere that they do not yet know about.
‘To date these tracking stations have drawn a blank, which would indicate that as we approach autumn our hornet population remains at very low level or is possibly non-existent,’ the spokesman said.
Recent discussions with the Asian hornet team co-ordinator confirms a similar trend on Jersey, in that the numbers of hornet sightings there are lower this year and that they have located fewer nests compared to last year.
One possible explanation is that fewer queen hornets made their way over from France.
‘The absence of hornet sightings throughout the summer months is never a guarantee that they have all been eradicated,’ the spokesman said.
‘Asian hornets can be elusive especially in rural locations and are most likely under-reported wherever they are established.
‘It is however an encouraging sign that our strategy is working and that for a second year running the numbers of nests found and destroyed has remained well below double figure: 2018 – 8 nests, 2019 – 2 nests, 2020 – 0 nests (to date).
‘We will continue to carry out trapping queen Asian hornets in the spring of 2021, after which time we will be in a position to analyse three years of data and review the effectiveness of this approach.’
‘Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to send in reports and photographs of possible Asian hornet sightings to us this year,’ said Francis Russell, project coordinator at the Asian hornet strategy.
‘Maintaining islanders’ vigilance and support is vital if we are going to keep on top of this highly invasive predatory insect. We respond to every message, phone call or email and would rather have a false alarm than risk missing out on finding a hornet’s nest.’
. To contact the team email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 07839 197082 or 213028.