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Confirmed sighting of Asian hornets in Dover sparks government warning

A warning has been issued after invasive Asian hornets – which are known to attack and eat honey bees – were identified in a Kent town.

Members of the public are being asked to remain vigilant by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) after the insect was spotted in Dover.

Asian hornets have been spotted in Dover. Stock picture: John Feltwell
Asian hornets have been spotted in Dover. Stock picture: John Feltwell

The National Bee Unit confirmed the sighting, and monitoring is underway to find more in the area.

The invasive hornet originates from South East Asia and is known to both attack and eat honey bees.

Defra’s chief plant and bee health officer Nicola Spence says swift action is being taken following the sighting.

“By ensuring we are alerted to possible sightings as early as possible, we can take swift and effective action to stamp out the threat posed by Asian hornets,” she said.

“Please continue to look out for any Asian hornets and if you think you’ve spotted one, report your sighting through the Asian hornet app or online.

“Asian hornet nests will be smaller at this time in the year but we are still asking people to be vigilant.”

The warning comes after an Asian hornet was spotted in Folkestone in April.

They are not generally aggressive towards people but an exception to this is when they perceive a threat to their nest.

Defra is asking anyone who thinks they have seen a nest to report via the Asian Hornet Watch app or online and include a picture if possible. Alternatively, people can report it by e-mailing alertnonnative@ceh.ac.uk.

The government says this is the sixth confirmed UK sighting of the insect since April, when a single Asian hornet was captured near Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Northumberland.

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