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Asian Hornet spotted in the UK for a second time

Asian hornet Image copyright PA
Image caption The first Asian hornet in the UK was spotted in Gloucestershire last month

A second UK sighting of an Asian hornet in the UK has been confirmed.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said the insect had been identified north of the Mendip Hills in North Somerset.

Work to identify, destroy and remove any nests is under way and a three-mile (5km) surveillance zone has been set up, a spokesman said.

Experts say the species needs to be destroyed because it poses a risk to native honey bees.

The first confirmed sighting took place in Tetbury, Gloucestershire, last month.

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Media captionAn Asian hornet's nest near Tetbury has been destroyed.

A nest found nearby has now been treated with pesticide and destroyed, and no further live Asian hornets have been sighted in the area since the nest was removed.

The Asian hornet (Vespa velutina), which is up to 2.5cm (1in) long, is now common across Europe after being accidentally introduced to France in 2004 in a shipment of pottery from China.

In the summer, the non-native species was discovered in the Channel Islands of Jersey and Alderney for the first time.

Nicola Spence from Defra said: "We have been anticipating the arrival of the Asian hornet for some years and are implementing our well-established protocol to eradicate them and control their spread.

"It is important to remember they pose no greater risk to human health than a bee, though we recognise the damage they can cause to honey bee colonies.

"That's why we are taking swift and robust action to identify and destroy any nests."

Identifying an Asian hornet

  • Vespa velutina queens are up to 3cm (1.2in) in length; workers up to 2.5cm (1in)
  • Entirely dark brown or black velvety body, bordered with a fine yellow band
  • Only one band on the abdomen: fourth abdominal segment almost entirely yellow/orange
  • Legs brown with yellow ends
  • Head black with an orange-yellow face

Source: National Bee Unit

Image copyright PA
Image caption There have now been two confirmed sightings of Asian hornets in the UK

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