Britain is being warned about the threat of a possible Asian hornet invasion.

Asian hornets, which have a mostly black abdomen and characteristic yellow legs, were first spotted in the UK in September 2016 in Tetbury, Gloucestershire.

There have been a total of 74 confirmed sightings of Asian hornets since 2016 with 51 of those coming in 2023.

This figure includes a total of 69 nests, all of which were destroyed.

The most recent sightings (at the time of publication) were reported in Kent on October 4.

Andover Advertiser: The most recent Asian hornet sighting in the UK was in October.The most recent Asian hornet sighting in the UK was in October. (Image: David Crossley/Defra)

Asian hornets prey on insects, mainly native honey bees which pose a "significant threat" to bee colonies, and other native species in the UK.

The insect's sting can also cause allergic reactions in some humans while they can become quite aggressive if they perceive a threat to their nest.

Scientists revealed in September they were concerned climate change was making conditions favourable for alien species in the UK and were particularly wary of the Asian hornets.

Britain warned of the threat of an Asian Hornet invasion

Now, Asian Hornet Strategy Coordinator for the States of Guernsey, Francis Russell, has warned Britain must work to eradicate Asian Hornets or risk being overrun.

Mr Russell, speaking to the Mail Online, said Guernsey, Jersey and the other Channel Islands were currently engaged in a race against time as they faced their own battle with the invasive species and the threat could quite easily spread to the UK.

He said: "Due to the arrival of hornets each spring, the annual eradication of hornets is considered the only achievable goal.

"The threats are universal and apply equally across any region in Europe where conditions would allow this insect to successfully colonise. 

"One only has to research the situation in other European countries to see how far they have extended their distribution range since the original (accidental) introduction to France in 2004. 

"According to the published literature, the rate of spread is 75km/year."

If you see an Asian hornet it GB Non-native Species Secretariat (NNSS) said it is important to report it. 

The NNSS website says: "By recording any sightings of these species as quickly as possibly you could be helping to prevent the establishment of a new invasive non-native species. 

"Vigilance is particularly required in southern parts of England and Wales and around major ports.

"Asian hornet is active mainly between April and November (peak August/September) and is inactive over the winter."

If you want to report a sighting visit the NNSS website.