A fresh warning has been issued to Brits to remain vigilant as killer Asian hornets edge closer to the UK.

A “fresh wave” of hornets believed to be the first swarm of the year have been found on Guernsey

It follows last year’s warning that the level of hornets would reach “alarming” levels after numbers surpassed the record numbers recorded in 2019.

The insects first appeared in Jersey in late 2016 and could be devastating to the UK’s native bee population, as one hornet can eat up to 50 bees in a day.

After years of establishing themselves on Jersey and Guernsey, the battleground shifted last year to Southern England, leading to calls for a "people's army" to help fight off an impending invasion of killer hornets onto mainland Britain.

Killer Asian hornet a threat to UK’s native bees

The Asian hornet is smaller than our native hornet and while it poses no greater threat to humans than a bee, it can harm honey bees.

When the hornets find a bee colony or apiary, they focus on honey bees as their prey.

The species began spreading through Europe in 2004 after arriving in the south of France inside a freight ship, and are increasingly common across the Channel.

The hornets contain a neurotoxin that can kill with a single sting, which could be lethal to someone who is allergic.

‘This is just the start’ experts warn as hornets invade UK from France

Fresh sightings in Guernsey has sparked a warning from Asian hornet project coordinator Francis Russel.

He told The Mirror: "We think these are coming fresh from France.

"The wind is set to be north-easterly through the next week.

“We tend to get Asian hornets during north-easterly winds or just afterwards. I think this is the start. I think more will be found."

How you can identify the killer Asian hornets

Islanders are being encouraged to check their sheds, garages and other outdoor areas for signs of any nests, and are urged to report any sightings of an Asian hornet.

The insects look similar to native European hornets, but can be identified by their darker colour.

Their bodies are dark brown or black and they feature a yellow coloured band across their lower end, a bright pale yellow belt at the waist, and yellow on the lower half of their legs.

Queens can grow up to 3cm in length, while workers reach up to 2.5cm.

Members of the public can report any sightings of an Asian hornet by emailing alertnonnative@ceh.ac.uk and attaching a photo if possible, or online via Non-native Species Secretariat.

The ‘Asian Hornet Watch’ app is available to download from the Apple and Android app stores.