Herm’s first Asian hornet nest removed

AN ASIAN hornet nest was found on Herm after a fisherman spotted a swarm being attracted to his bait fish.

Asian Hornet Strategy field officer Damian Harris carries the bagged nest from its location near Herm’s Belvoir Bay. It was the first nest found on Herm and was spotted after an angler saw a swarm of the insects after his bait.
Asian Hornet Strategy field officer Damian Harris carries the bagged nest from its location near Herm’s Belvoir Bay. It was the first nest found on Herm and was spotted after an angler saw a swarm of the insects after his bait.

It was the first time a nest has been found on the island.

The discovery came after a number of sightings of the invasive insects around the island, including in the Mermaid Tavern garden, along the coastal footpath and on the beach at Belvoir.

At the end of September, a single Asian hornet was photographed scavenging on a dead rabbit carcass on the cliffs, but the most revealing information came from the local fisherman, who saw a swarm of around 30 hornets attracted to his bait fish.

Tracking the insects’ flightpath led the Asian hornet team inland from Belvoir and they found the medium-sized nest in thick brambles about 45 metres from the kiosk. It was treated and removed on Friday.

Asian Hornet Strategy project coordinator Francis Russell said finding a nest was always challenging, but this one was found quite quickly thanks to people reporting their sightings.

‘We are grateful to everyone who contacted us with information, without which it’s possible the nest could have gone on undetected,’ he said.

‘Thanks also to the gardeners on Herm who kindly helped in transporting all our gear and in putting up warning signs.’

So far this year in Guernsey two primary Asian hornet nests and one secondary one have been found.

The insect targets other pollinators such as honey bees. At this time of year, the nests start to release their queens.

‘In previous years we have found active nests up to the end of October, so there is still time to find more,’ Mr Russell said.

‘It is always a race against time to find and destroy nests before they have raised the next generation of queens, at which point the risk is this invasive species becoming established on our islands – a very unwelcome prospect that would devastate our native species and make the work of controlling them in future years much more difficult.

‘We strongly suspect there is still an active nest in the Vale and so, as always, we ask the public to remain vigilant and continue to report any sightings to us.’

n Suspected sightings should be reported to asianhornet@gov.gg or by telephone 07839 197082.

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