Vespa velutina, an Asian predatory species that has recently shown up in the UK, may arrive in our shores later this summer.
The species is indigenous to Southeast Asia, but some specimens have found their way into Europe, likely transported inside cargo boxes hailing from China and other countries in the area.
The deadly hornets have already been spotted in France, Spain, Portugal,and now the UK. They pack a powerful punch in the shape of a stinger that can deliver enough venom to kill a hypersensitive human. Six people were confirmed dead in France alone due to anaphylactic shock after a Velutina sting.
The species poses a great risk to the common honey bee, as it actively seeks it as prey. When the hornets locate a beehive, a scout patrols the surrounding airspace, identifying the directions and patterns of bees returning from foraging missions. Once the territory is scouted out, other hornets take positions around the hive and pounce on the bees. They are known to behead bee specimens before eating them.
The public are warned not to disturb hornet nests, and report their location.