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Beware Asian hornets nests widespread in France this summer

Nests of dangerous Asian hornets are expected to be widespread this summer after a sunny spring.

Anyone coming across one is warned to take care and to alert the authorities. Do not approach it and do not try to destroy it yourself. If in doubt, call your mairie for help. Some areas have dedicated helplines, such as Orne’s on 02 33 80 38 22 and its website

In some areas, destruction of a nest by an accredited professional is partly funded by the commune and/or department. Nests should be destroyed between July and October, and this is the main approved way of controlling the insects. Setting traps is usually discouraged as most traps catch other harmless insects as well.

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Where to watch out for nests

The nests are usually found in areas such as cabins, roof spaces and lofts, or in hedges, but not high up in trees. Hornets seek out sheltered spaces where they will not be bothered by wind and rain. Asian hornets are recognisable by their mostly dark colour, with some yellow towards the back, and their nests have a rounded or oval shape.

They have been spreading in France since 2004, when they are thought to have arrived in Lot-et-Garonne. They can be dangerous to people, especially if you are stung multiple times or have an allergic reaction. They are also pests that eat other insects such as bees and damage their hives, contributing to their decline.

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