Killer Asian hornets heading for UK as easterly winds blow them across Channel

Swarms of bee-killing Asian hornets are invading Britain after being swept in from France.

The number of queens found on the Channel Islands – the bug’s British Isles’ “headquarters” – has tripled during the past week.

Experts fear the insects could destroy the UK’s native bee population.

Alastair Christie, who leads the team tracking the beasts, said: “We had done an excellent job of mopping up the hornet nests in Jersey.

“But these easterly winds and lots of hornets from France don’t help one bit.

"We feel that the majority of queens that we have found so far are blow-ins from France.”

The number of queens found this year shot up from nine to 27 in the past week.

A hornet’s sting can kill a person who is allergic to them, and one hornet can eat 50 bees in a single day.

The pests, which are said to have a fondness for steak and ale pie, pack a powerful sting and will play "havoc" with the UK's bee population.

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

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

Since then, the number of nests had been growing annually.

But after years of establishing themselves on Jersey and Guernsey, the battleground has now shifted to southern England.

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They can also deliver more venom than other hornet species, meaning that their stings really pack a punch.

People who are allergic have been known to die within minutes if not treated.

Last year the UK's first sighting of the scary animals took place in September.

The National Bee Unit confirmed the sighting in Gosport, Hampshire, on September 10.

It was the first confirmed UK sighting since October 2019, when two related nests were detected and destroyed near Christchurch, Dorset.

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