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Flintshire beekeepers issue warning over killer hornet

FLINTSHIRE beekeepers are urged to be on the lookout for giant hornets with a taste for honeybees – which could be heading for Britain.

The aggressive Asian hornet has made its way across France and experts say it could arrive in the UK.

Beekeepers in the county are urging people to be on red alert and report any suspected sightings of the insect, which is an aggressive predator of honeybees.

Beekeeper Geoff Critchley of Cilcain has 50 bee hives.

He told the Chronicle: “There is a certain amount of concern. I understand that some bee keepers outside of the UK have lost up to 75% of their hives. It would be a worry if they were here.”

It is thought a handful of Asian hornets can destroy an entire honeybee nest in a few hours.

Secretary of South Clwyd Beekeepers’ Association Carol Keys-Shaw said an ‘invasion’ would be “devastating”.

She said: “I have 10 hives. If Asian hornets arrive in the UK there is a danger to bees all over the UK, not just in Flintshire. It could devastate the honeybee population.”

Graham Wheeler of Flintshire Beekeepers’ Association explained that hornets can be mistaken for wasps.

He said: “At this time of year there are many Queen wasps about searching for hibernation sites, these are quite often mistaken for hornets.

“We would strongly advise that individuals should not attempt to disturb a suspected nest.”

Asian hornet’s have a nasty sting and can leave people hospitalised if they suffer anaphylactic shock.

Chair of the South Clwyd Beekeepers and National Bee Unit inspector in Flintshire, David Hards, says it is important that anyone who sees an Asian hornet reports it immediately.

He said: “Beekeepers need to familiarise themselves with this type of hornet and check the Beebase website for the most up to date information.

“Anyone who identifies an Asian hornet, or suspects they have, should get in touch with their local bee inspector straight away.”