Cross-Channel Invasive Species Threatens Britain

There's been a rise in sightings of the Asian hornet in the south of England.

Scientists, conservationists and beekeepers, are concerned about how these hornets could damage biodiversity.

Asian hornets feed on bees and wasps, so can have a devastating impact on the local insect populations.

In Kent, thousands of bees have been killed by Asian hornets, which have arrived in britain having jumped over the Channel, often hitching a lift on passing boats.

According to a report on the BBC last night, Peter Down, a beekeeper in Capel-Le-Ferne, Kent, says only four or five of his 20 hives remain and the surviving bees are so stressed they are unable to produce any honey.

Peter wants the government Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) to work with the Animal Plant Health Agency (APHA) to tackle hornet nests quicker.

The British Beekeeping Association (BBKA) said: "The sharp increase in Asian/yellow-legged hornets in England is a serious concern."

Asian hornets are smaller than hornets native to the UK - they're only a couple of centimetres long. They're also a darker colour than the hornets we are used to here.

The Wildlife Trust says if you think see an Asian hornet or Asian hornet nest, you should report it immediately.

This is because they are an invasive species, which means when they move to new places, they have a big impact on the local ecosystem. The hornets feed on native wasps and bees. 

The BBC report noted that "scientists say invasive species, like the Asian hornet, contribute towards 60 percent of extinctions around the world.

"The main concern is for how they impact biodiversity - which is how lots of different animals and plants all work together in an area to keep it healthy for each other."

This, by the way, is a very interesting admission, since the BBC invariably blames extinctions on "man-made climate change".

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