Ireland facing "very real" danger of deadly Asian hornet invasion

NewsBy Shuki Byrne
Deadly: The Asian hornet
Deadly: The Asian hornet

A pest controller is warning the public to expect an invasion of killer Asian hornets very soon.

The deadly insects, which are up to four times bigger than normal wasps, are expected to arrive in Ireland and the UK in the near future. 

They have been responsible for the deaths of seven people in France since 2004, and have spread to countries such as Portugal, Spain, Italy, Belgium and Germany. 

Experts believe the deadly creatures will now make their way here via commercial or passenger vehicles or cargo arriving from France. 

The British government is taking the threat seriously and have appointed a team to learn more about how best to terminate them. 

Irish experts are also taking the threat seriously.

They are worried the hornet will wipe out Ireland's fragile bee population, raising concerns for honey producers and farmers. 

The main threat posed by the two-inch long black and yellow hornets is their ability to kill up to 40 bees per minute. This allows the Hornets to decimate colonies of tens of thousand of honeybees and then swarm in and gorge on their deserted hives.

Trevor Hayden - owner of Pest Control - said: "I'd be very surprised if Asian hornets don't end up in Ireland in the near future. 

"We dealt with a case in Cork last year, which was thankfully just one hornet which arrived here in someone's luggage.

"That was only an isolated case, but I think it's only a matter of time before they get a real foothold in this country, particularly if they get over to England."

Mr Hayden added that due to the traffic between Ireland and France there was a "very real" danger of the insects arriving here soon. 

The Asian hornet is the largest wasp in the world and it stings its victim multiple times using a potent venom. 

The hornet's sting can be fatal but only to people who are allergic and are likely to go into anaphylactic shock following a bee sting.

The deadly creatures were first spotted in France in 2004 and are believed to have made their way from Asia, where they originate, in some pottery. Since that time their presence has been growing in other European countries. 

"There is always a possibility that they could arrive here" said Philip McCabe, president of the Apimondia European Commission.

"A queen wasp would probably have to accidentally travel in a suitcase or shipment, which has been known to happen. It's very unlikely, but it could happen" he warned.