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Booze-loving Asian hornets coming for our beer as pub garden warning issued
July 1, 2023
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Asian hornets have put pub gardens on red alert as the dangerous pests can't get enough of booze, an expert exterminator has warned.
Humans have died from the 6mm stinger wielding winged-beasts, bumble bees have their heads chewed off by them and now Brits' beers are under threat.
In fact, anyone partial to a tipple under the sun has been urged to watch out for the pint-pinching, champagne-chugging bugs.
READ MORE: Island's Asian hornet hit squad winning war on 'alien' invasion marching through Europe
Unlike wasps swarming glasses on hot summer days on the hunt for a sweet treat, Guernsey's Asian hornet chief huntsman, Francis Russell says the predators from China just love alcohol.
He told the Daily Star: "We have noticed over the last few summers that Asian hornets have a taste for alcohol.
"We have pictures of hornets over beer glasses. We've got them over glasses of Champagne and they do seem to find summer parties, barbecues, pub gardens and that's where we occasionally get reports of Asian hornets turning up and that's a good place for us to start tracking and working out where their nests are."
Since a single queen first touched down in France as a stowaway with a pottery shipment from China in 2004, the black and yellow fiends have developed a taste for European bees, road kill and booze.
While neighbouring Channel Island Jersey is becoming overrun with hornets native to mountainous China, Francis has co-ordinated a fierce response team with tactics successfully keeping a grip on the dangerous situation.
The State-led operation is tackling the beasties to save biodiversity, prevent human injury or even worse fatalities, and finally money given the potential expense of a reactionary hornet hunt.
Now Brits are being cautioned to surrender their glass – half full or empty – so as to not get in the way of a thirsty worker and their swig of the good stuff.
Francis told the Daily Star: "They like booze so to raise awareness we went to a brewery to do beer mats and are encouraging people in pubs who are out to take photos for different demographics.
"Hornets have some affinity with champagne, white wine, beer particularly."
Francis explained that the French have caught onto this and have started pouring alcohol into their trap to lure in hornets.
Adding why the State of Guernsey which is just 209 miles from England's south coast, Francis broke it down into three points.
He said: "They are a very aggressive insect predator, they impact our native insects so our biodiversity is at risk here, things like our honey bees, butterflies, bumble bees, wasps, they're all going to be predated by these hornets.
"Second reason is if you disturb a nest, they will attack and people in Spain and Portugal have died from Asian hornet attacks so we want to keep people safe.
"And the third reason is the cost of removal of these nests is extremely high, you need cherry pickers, you need special hornet suits and you need guys that are experienced in actually dealing with these predators."
From February to June, Francis and his team are on the hunt for queens landing in Guernsey from France to launch their own colony.
"This year it’s gone absolutely crazy," Francis said, explaining how the usual nine or 10 queens spotted by this time of year has sky-rocketed to 32.
Why they decide to suddenly flee into the English Channel remains a mystery but what is clear is they're having far more luck making a home out of neighbouring Jersey.
Perhaps there's just more booze on offer?
For the rest of the year now, it's the workers that pub punters have been told to not just be wary of but take a photo and track where they head off to with a belly full of lager.
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