What concerns are there about the destruction of nests?

There are two main concerns about the destruction of Asian Hornet nests, these are:

  • That the poisonous substances would harm other wild life eating debris directly or indirectly from the poisoned nests
  • That in the commotion of defending a nest, worker hornets would be at large and escape.  These escaped workers could swell the ranks of other nearby nests which could confuse the picture and result in time wasted checking supposed subsequent “new sightings”

What is the new plan?

To prepare the way in terms of cutting away branches for access, leaving ladder in situ etc, and then returning after dark to complete the work to ensure that all defending hornets have returned to the nest. 

However, take a look at these YouTube videos made by Richard Noel in Brittany.  

Richard Noel YouTube Video - Asian Hornets at Home

Richard Noel YouTube Video - Removing Asian Hornet Nests

At the Jersey Cider Festival in 2018 an Asian Hornet stand with nest and live hornets attracted people from Australia, Germany, France, England, Holland and Ireland standing 6 deep at times.  The main comment made was “they look bigger in real life, the posters and leaflets do them no justice”.  A leaflet depicting an Asian hornet, wasp and honey bee in actual size for realistic comparison would be beneficial.

So, how important is it to destroy nests in the autumn?

As at mid October 2018 the Jersey beekeepers had found/destroyed a total of 52 nests this year. (By 22nd October 2018 this had risen to 56).  This includes trapped founder queens, primary nests (that would have developed into secondary nests) and secondary nests.   Basing this on research figures this has prevented the following numbers:

52 nests would have produced a probable minimum of 10,400 queens (this is based on the lower figure generally accepted of 200 queens produced by each nest).

Considering the high winter mortality of queens and if only 2.5 % survived the winter this would have given Jersey 260 potential nests next year (2019).

260 nests having an average hornet content at high season of 6000 per nest per year would have produced a hornet count over the year of circa a massive 1.5M hornets in 2019.

Each hornet starts life as a grub who only eats protein in the form of pollinators at the generally accepted rate of a minimum of 10 per day each.  It’s not difficult to see the impact this would have over 2019 on the local pollinators.

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