Guernsey Press

Turntable ladder used to tackle hornets’ nest

THE Guernsey Asian hornet team had to call in help from Guernsey Fire & Rescue Service after discovering a nest in an exceptionally tall tree.

The Guernsey Fire & Rescue Service’s turntable ladder was used to reach a huge Asian hornet nest at La Vallette. (32501721)

It was in an evergreen oak at La Vallette in St Peter Port, adjacent to the Underground Military Museum, and was successfully removed late on Friday night.

Asian hornet strategy coordinator Francis Russell said that after following up on reports of hornets turning up in Town, the team successfully tracked worker hornets from strategically-placed bait stations back to the nest.

‘The oak tree, which was up on a steep cliff slope, was the tallest one that the Asian hornet team had ever had to deal with,’ he said.

‘Accessing the nest was only made possible with the aid of the Guernsey Fire and Rescue Service who deployed their largest turntable ladder which can extend to a maximum height of 32m. This was the first time that a GFRS vehicle and their officers had been asked to assist in the work to control Asian hornets in Guernsey.’

Due to the proximity to the bathing pools, a temporary road closure and restriction of all pedestrians was in place for the duration of the operation.

This meant that as well as the fire service, volunteers from Guernsey Civil Protection were also used.

Not only was the highest nest the team have encountered, it was also the largest nest since the hornet strategy was launched in 2019.

‘2023 has proved to be the busiest and most challenging year ever experienced, with nine secondary nests already found across seven parishes, compared to the previous year’s average of two to three nests per year,’ said Mr Russell.

‘Of these nests, five have been successfully dealt with, while plans are urgently being drawn up to gain safe access to the remaining nests.’

Mr Russell said that as autumn approaches, the race was on to remove all the Asian hornet nests across the island.

‘If nests remain in place and are not dealt with as a matter of urgency, the production of a new generation of queens will be triggered, with a large secondary nest capable of producing as many as 300-500 queens.

‘These would then hibernate on the island over the winter, causing further problems for the following year,' he said.