Brits could face Asian Hornet invasion after suspected sighting of killer bug

Deadly Asian hornets have been spotted in the UK with Brits now preparing for a deadly swarm that could hit at the business end of the summer.

The public have been warned to be "on guard" to help stop the spread of the species after a specimen was discovered on Sunday in Plymouth, Devon.

Two had already been spotted as early as late April, firstly in the Channel Islands before they spread to the mainland. Jersey is seen as the frontline in the battle to stop the invasive species.

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The Plymouth sighting was reported to Defra on Sunday. It is understood one was found attacking bees around a solar wax extractor.

Posters have now been placed across the area urging the public to check to check boats and vehicles on their return from trips abroad.

The sighting has also prompted several warnings on social media.

Ashgrove Farm, in Tavistock, posted: "If you have bees in Plymouth, please check your hives. If you have a garden, land, hedgerows, outbuildings, trees, caravans, trailers, or sheltered storage, please check for nests.

"The Asian Hornet can wipe out a colony of bees, in a matter of hours, as they feed on the live bees and pupae inside the hive.

"If you have recently returned from a holiday, via the ferry, please check under your trailers and caravans for nests. Please also check for nests when out walking your dog, or while looking up in the trees in parks and woodland areas. If you own a boat which is moored in the Tamar, or has been recently craned out, please check it for nests.

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"Do not try to destroy any nest, but notify Plymouth Branch – Devon Beekeepers’ Association on Facebook, or @plymouthbeekeepers on Instagram. You can also message us direct, or post pictures of any suspected sightings here.

"A sting from an Asian Hornet is a lot worse than a sting from a wasp or bee, so do not put yourself in harm, or take any risks. They will not sting you, unless provoked, so do not worry or panic."

Sightings on mainland Britain have been rare and the spread has largely been contained stopping the hornets from naturalising.

The species began to spread through Europe in 2004 after arriving in the south of France inside a freight ship.

They were was spotted in the British Isles on the Channel Island of Jersey in late 2016.

But after years of establishing themselves on Jersey and Guernsey the battleground shifted last year to Southern England.

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