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Asian Hornets To Take Over UK

There have been a record amount of sightings of Asian hornets nests lately, but what could this mean for the UK?


Nests of Asian Hornets have been spotted in East Sussex, Kent, Devon, and Dorset, with 22 found so far this year (The Guardian, September 2023). Not only is this worrying the UK population, but the Asian Hornet closely resembles a British wasp, with its slightly different colouration and larger size, and thus it can be hard to make the distinction. 


The most disconcerting fact about this winged intruder is that their food source is bees and wasps. In fact, according to experts, invasive species such as these cause irreparable damage to ecosystems. One beekeeper found that 10 out of 17 of his bee hives had been wiped out due to the rampage these hornets raged on honey bees, especially in Folkestone Kent (BBC, September 2023).


Bumblebee conservation expert, Dave Goulson, who is a professor of biology at the University of Sussex, stated that: “the arrival of Asian hornets would provide a significant new threat to insect populations that are already much reduced due to the many other pressures they face, such as habitat loss, pesticide use, and so on” (The Week, September 2023).


So far the UK has managed to protect the bee population, who are vital to our ecosystem, by quickly destroying any and all nests identified and reported by the public. According to New Scientist, this is the best time to prevent the invasive species from establishing themselves as part of the country's wildlife (New Scientist, September 2023).


The bees are already suffering enough from Pesticides, droughts, habitat destruction, air pollution, global warming, and climate change. All of these factors contribute to the decrease in bees swarming around our lands, pollinating the plants and produce, and ultimately keeping our own resources alive and growing for us. Approximately 90% of wild crops and 75% of leading global crops depend on animal pollination to grow. (WWF, 2023). With the increase in sightings of Asian hornets, bees could continue to take the hit when it comes to facing adversity in the growing years, unless the UK starts to help the conservation of bees, and people start reporting hornet nests when they see them. 

Edited by: Anwen Venn

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Tags: conservation wildlife bees asian hornets


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