Island beekeepers are warning of the 'threat' posed by Asian hornets as they prepare for their 'imminent' arrival on the Isle of Wight.

The species is invasive and feeds on all European native pollinators and other insects, Isle of Wight Asian Hornet Watch has said.

It is feared that if they establish themselves in the UK, it will have serious consequences for eco-systems.

To date, there have been no confirmed sightings of Asian hornets on the Island, but the watch has said it is only a matter of time.

According to the National Bee Unit, two nests have been found in Southampton this year.

Concerns have led to four beekeepers from the Island spending six days in Jersey to follow identification, marking and tracking methods, earlier this month.

"In doing so we also learnt and witnessed the challenges of finding, destroying and removing nests", they said.

"We found ourselves humbled by the generosity of the Jersey Government and Asian Hornet Team volunteers who unconditionally shared their experiences, knowledge and tactics in dealing with this invasive insect.

"However, the main message that we have come back with from them, is that the eradication of this insect will not be successful unless the whole community is involved from the outset."

The impact on humans is now being realised across Europe and many industries such as bee farming, wine producing, fruit growing, arboriculture and fisheries are being forced to modify their practices, the watch said.

What to do if you see an Asian hornet on the Isle of Wight

Islanders who see Asian hornets are being urged to report sightings by emailing or on the Asian Hornet Watch app.

Once reported, a trained team is then able to track the nest and eradicate it. 

A single nest, depending on its size, can produce between 150 to 500 queens at the end of the summer, who, once mated, will then hibernate, the watch said.

If the mated queens survive the winter, they each have the potential to start a new nest in the Spring.

Asian hornets have a single yellow band, orange face and yellow-tipped legs. 

Isle of Wight Asian Hornet Watch is looking for venues to host workshops along with sponsors to assist with the cost of banners, handouts, posters and bait stations for monitoring. 

The first Asian hornet awareness workshop takes place on Sunday, October 15 at the Isle of Wight Community Centre at Cowes.