Pest professionals in County Durham are on standby to help householders identify potential pests after an outbreak of an invasive species across the UK.

British Pest Control Association (BPCA) members can help residents confirm if an annoying insect is a common wasp or a species such as the Asian hornet – which requires all sightings to be reported to the Non-Native Species Secretariat (NNSS).

This announcement from the BCPA comes at the same time as the Invasive Species Week (May 20-26).

The Northern Echo: Asian HornetAsian Hornet (Image: BCPA)

According to BCPA, climate change is creating conditions that allow non-native species such as Asian hornets and Asian tiger mosquitoes to survive in the UK.

The first UK sighting of an Asian hornet was recorded in 2016, with an average of two sightings each year up to 2022.

In 2023, 72 Asian hornet nests were recorded in 56 locations across the UK - with several in County Durham.

To date, there have not been any sightings of Asian Tiger mosquitoes in the UK.

Natalie Bungay is the Technical Manager at BPCA. She said: “Invasive Species Week is a chance for NNSS, British Beekeeper’s Association and BPCA to encourage householders to learn a bit more about these species.

“If you spot something that you think may be non-native, get photos and an exact location if you can, then report the sighting as soon as possible.

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“For anyone who isn’t sure whether they’ve seen an Asian hornet or a native wasp, it can be a good idea to call out a local BPCA member for a consultation.

“They will help you identify the species, explain whether you need to report the sighting and outline whether pest management is required.

“You can find a list of professional pest controllers at BPCA check all their qualifications and regularly assesses them to make sure they're capable of helping with even the worst pest problems.”