Traps in place to capture Asian hornet queens in Guernsey

Conservationists in Guernsey are attempting to track and trap Asian hornet queens, as they emerge from hibernation or fly over from France. Credit: David Walker

Conservationists in Guernsey are attempting to track and trap Asian hornet queens, as they emerge from hibernation or fly over from France.

For the third year in a row, they are asking islanders to report any sightings of the insects or nests and have set up traps around the Bailiwick.

In total, 270 specially modified traps have been set up in gardens, hedges and fields. Each volunteer has been given a kit with full instructions on what to do if they catch an Asian hornet. It is being rolled out across Alderney, Herm and Sark too.

The team want to keep the population of the invasive species as low as possible, to protect native pollinators, such as bees.

Conservationists are attempting to catch any remaining queen hornets emerging from hibernation.

For the first few weeks of spring the queen hornets live in isolation, which makes them easier to capture because they have to forage for food.

In trapping the queens it prevents them raising the next generation of worker hornets. They build large nests, which can house up to 5,000 hornets by August or September each year. The latest research from France estimates that a full-size hornet colony can consume as many as 11kg of pollinating insects in one summer.

Officials behind the project say if the hornets were left to establish their own colonies it would become 'virtually impossible to eradicate them'.

Project coordinator for the Asian Hornet Strategy in Guernsey, Francis Russell says the first confirmed sighting of an insect this year in Sark is a reminder for islanders to remain vigilant and report sightings quickly.

If you think you have discovered an Asian hornet, try to safely contain it so it cannot escape outside, take a photograph and email it to asianhornet@gov.gg for confirmation, or call 07839 197082. For more information click here.