Sobering news from Jersey where beekeepers are saying they are losing the fight against Asian hornets despite a taskforce formed between the Jersey Beekeepers Association and Environment officers who have been tracking hornets to locate and destroy their nests.
The invasive insects destroyed seven hives in St Lawrence this week.
John de Carteret, who is leading the Island’s efforts to seek out and destroy hornet nests, said although they were receiving a great many reports of Asian-hornet sightings they simply did not have enough volunteers to follow them up.
‘We are struggling, as we don’t have enough people to help us,’ he said. ‘We are also starting to get reports of hornets in people’s houses, which is concerning us.’
Two secondary nests – which can hold 6,000 hornets, each with the appetite to eat up to 50 honey bees in a single day – were due to be destroyed this morning at Ouaisné, taking the total number of secondary and smaller primary nests found since April to 18.
Mr de Carteret said it was upsetting that the seven bee hives were destroyed this week, especially as the taskforce formed by the Jersey Beekeepers Association and Environment officers had been tracking hornet movements to enable them to locate and destroy their nests.
Earlier this year the task force announced plans to form ‘first-response’ groups of volunteers in each parish to help them confirm sightings, which can be a time-consuming process when the key aim is to locate and destroy nests.
‘This has not really worked out, even though we have around 30 volunteers, as there is one parish without any volunteers and only one in another,’ he said.
‘We need people who have got the time to stand around and monitor Asian hornet activity and learn how to track them.’
Although the spread of nests and Asian hornet sightings has been Islandwide, they are currently concentrated in two areas: St Brelade’s Bay to St Aubin and in St Saviour between La Hougue Bie and St Saviour’s Road.