KILLER HORNETS: Facts you need to know

Killer hornets

Killer hornets

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As experts claim that swarms of killer hornets are heading to the UK, here are the facts you need to know.

The Asian Giant Hornet is the largest species of hornet in the world- some queens reach more than 5cm in length.

The hornets, also known as the Japanese Giant Hornet or the Yak-Killer Hornet, are native to Eastern Asia and believed to be the cause of up to 30-40 deaths in Japan every year.

Their venom contains a neurotoxin which can be lethal even to people who are not allergic- if the dose is sufficient.

If the victim is allergic to the sting, this means an almost certain death from anaphylactic shock, cardiac arrest or multiple organ failure.

A shipment of Chinese pottery that arrived in France in 2004 is thought to have marked the arrival of the hornets in Europe.

The Asian giant hornet is intensely predatory. It hunts medium to large-sized insects, such as bees, and has the potential to destroy entire bee colonies. The hornets will kill off the colonies by targeting a hive and ransacking the nest.

Maurice Jordan, secretary of the Notts Beekeepers’ Association, said he had been warned that the hornets were ‘dangerous and could be a ‘very big problem.’