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Asian hornet sighting reported near Ashford

An Asian hornet sighting has been confirmed near Ashford.

A search is underway to locate the nest in hope to slow the advance of the invasive insect, after it was spotted south west of the town yesterday.

The venomous specie, which is native to China, was first identified in the UK in 2016. Since then, there has been 16 confirmed sightings and seven nests have been destroyed.

The hornet poses a major threat to pollinators and is particularly concerning for Kent, as many of the country's rarest bumblebees are found here.

Bee inspectors are urging residents to report any further sightings of the insect to them, which is slightly smaller than the native hornet and has several distinctive features.

It is likely to be found on ripe fruit and flowering ivy, and two male hornets were seen in Dungeness last year.

As leaves begin to shred from trees in the autumn, it is likely that nests concealed in trees will emerge.

What to look out for
What to look out for

According to the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra), there have been reports of Asian hornets becoming aggressive in other countries if their nests are disturbed.

The government is warning people not to remove nests, as this should only be done by experts.

Chairman of Ashford Beekeepers Association, Navin Nauth-Misir, said: "Reports of hornets are valuable, even if the hornet is already dead.

"By reporting Asian hornets, you can help us protect local bee populations.

"Many of the queens which overwinter will stay in the same area to begin their own nest the following year.

"If we know where the nests are, we will have a greater chance of finding the new ones the following year."

Download the free Asian Hornet Watch app on your Apple or Android device to report a sighting or send a photograph and location to alertnonnative@ceh.ac.uk

Escaped animals, unusual finds and news from the RSPCA can all be found here

Read more: All the latest news from Ashford

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