The sighting of a voracious alien whose aggressive feeding habits make the extinction of the human race more likely has prompted the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) to issue an appeal to members of the public in Derry.
Rosemary Muir from the NIEA’s Alien Invasive Species Team asked people locally to be vigilant following sightings of the yellow-legged or Asian hornet in the south of England in 2016 and in Jersey this year.
The NIEA fear the Asian hornet, if it establishes itself in Ireland, could wipe out our native honeybees.
Albert Einstein, the German polymath, famously predicted that the human race would become extinct within four years of bees disappearing.
Beekeepers, gardeners and the general public are being asked by the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) to be on the lookout for the hornet, which kills our insects including honeybees.
“We are asking everyone, but especially beekeepers and gardeners, to be on the lookout for the hornet. Early detection and destruction of nests is essential if eradication is to be achieved,” said Ms. Muir.
Forest Service Bee Health Inspector, Tom Williamson added: “Beekeepers should inspect each apiary observing the entrance of the hives and the surrounding flora to check for possible hornet activity. We can also help sentinel apiary operators to use traps to monitor for the hornet,” he explained.
Never disturb or try to deal with a suspect Asian hornet nest but report it immediately.
Suspect sightings and photos of Asian hornets should be reported to NIEA via the Asian Hornet Watch app or via CEDaR online recording.
Mr. Williamson said: “It is important in the event that Asian hornet or any other exotic threat to honeybees arrives, that we are able to quickly locate vulnerable apiaries.”