APIARISTS have been diligently watching for a new wave of invasive species that threatens Isle of Wight bee populations.

The Asian hornet is a highly effective predator insect that arrived in Europe in 2004 and is capable of decimating entire hives of bees who have not developed a defence against it.

Nationally the insect is most commonly found in the southern parks of the UK and is the most active in the summer months.

Island Roads is again working alongside the Isle of Wight Bee Keeping Association to train staff in identifying the insects.

Beekeeper Liz Van Wyk explained: “We are really pleased Island Roads is continuing to take an interest in the threat posed by the Asian hornet to our delicate ecosystem and its staff will once again be looking out for the pests and reporting any sightings.”

Stephen Ashman, Island Roads' service director, said: “We have staff working outdoors across the Island daily, carrying out inspections and undertaking works, so they are well placed to look out for these invasive creatures which could cause such devastation to our local bee population.

“We will continue to keep a look out for Asian hornets this summer as we undertake our work and report any sightings so they can be investigated.”

Anyone who thinks they have seen an Asian hornet should report it, with photo, to alertnonnative@ceh.ac.uk

Alternatively, you can report it via the app Asian Hornet Watch.