GOVERNMENT officials have confirmed that two nests of vicious Asian hornets have been destroyed near Christchurch earlier this month.

The hornets, which are not native to the UK, prey on vital pollinators including bees and wasps, and have been reported in countries abroad as attacking humans when their nests have been disturbed.

Earlier in the year a single hornet was confirmed in New Milton.

In all cases, the hornets were spotted and reported by a member of the public, said a government spokesperson.

The government wants all nest and hornet sightings to be reported but the spokesman said: "If you find a nest, don’t try to remove it yourself – it can be dangerous and should only be done by experts.

"When a sighting is confirmed, experts from the National Bee Unit and the Animal and Plant Health Agency will work quickly to find and destroy any active nests in the area."

Since 2016, there have been a total of 17 confirmed sightings of the Asian hornet in England and nine nests have been destroyed.

Asian hornets...

  • have a dark brown or black velvety body
  • have a yellow or orange band on fourth segment of abdomen
  • have yellow tipped legs
  • are smaller than the native European hornet
  • are not active at night