A new plan is being put together to take the sting out of the threat of Asian hornets next year.
The States said the new strategy is aimed at "reducing the risks posed by the invasive non-native Asian hornet" with the Committee for the Environment & Infrastructure and Agriculture, Countryside & Land Management Services working together to keep the unknown population of Asian hornets under "close control."
It will need staffing though, and Express was told that the States ACLMS will be recruiting a "temporary Project Co-ordinator" to co-ordinate the control and data collection work next year.
"This should ensure that there is a strong focus on having a successful strategy while at the same time allowing the other work of the service to continue, and will also bolster the efforts currently being made by the Guernsey Beekeepers Association," the statement said.
Pictured: A number of Asian hornet nests have already been found in Guernsey and more are expected. The above is one area where a nest was found during 2018.
Eight nests have been found so far in 2018, compared to just two in 2017, with fears that number could rise to more than 50 nests next year and even more than 150 the year after if something isn't done to stem the increase now.
The new island-wide control programme will be launched next spring with a comprehensive programme of trapping queen Asian hornets as they emerge from hibernation. If successful, this will reduce the development of nests during the year and will restrict the growth of the Asian hornet population.
A similar programme of queen trapping was trialled this year in Alderney and as a result 55 queen hornets were caught during the spring, and only four secondary nests were found later in the year.
An ACLMS spokesperson said:
“We have been very grateful for the efforts of members of the public reporting potential Asian hornet sightings this year and in 2017, which enabled us to locate the eight nests found this year. We cannot emphasise enough the importance of this help from members of the public to ensure that we can keep the populations of Asian hornet as low as possible, to protect public health and the Island’s biodiversity.”
The spring trapping programme, also called “Spring Queening”, will aim at reducing the capture of non-target insects. Specific bait will be used which does not attract beneficial insects such as bumble bees and butterflies, and traps will be modified so that any smaller insects which are caught are able to escape.
Julia Henney, Biodiversity Education Officer, said: “The impact of invasive species, such as Asian hornets, on native wildlife is second only to climate change. So it is great to hear that this action is being taken to prevent Asian hornet populations from exploding. With the measures being recommended to reduce the likelihood of our native bees and butterflies being caught during the spring trapping for hornets, we’re very optimistic that this will be a very positive programme for Guernsey’s wildlife.”
Pictured: Previous advice issued on Asian hornets directed people to use the gov.gg website to log sightings.
More details on the Asian Hornet Strategy will be released in the new year and then reviewed each year at the end of the summer season.
Pictured: An Asian Hornet and nest (file image).
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