One sighting in Maidstone proved to be false

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Reports of swarms of ‘killer’ hornets invading Kent’s shores to attack our stricken honey bee population have been played down by government experts.

It has been widely claimed the Asian hornet is set to decimate what’s left of the county’s bees as they arrive in clouds from France.

It was sparked by a possible sighting near Maidstone.

But the Food and Environment Research Agency said it’s nonsense, but bee-keepers do need to be vigilant.

A spokesman from Fera told us: “The scare began when there was a possibly sighting of an Asian hornet.

“But tests have been completely now and it has been confirmed it wasn’t one.

“They have been in France, after arriving in a consignment of pottery, for some years now, but we have never seen any in the UK.

“That is not to say bee-keepers and the public needn’t be vigilant and report any suspicious sightings.”

She criticised some wild claims that Kent is already under attack from the critters.

The spokesman said: “An alert went out to bee-keepers in the south east because of this suspect sighting but it has been confirmed this was not an Asian hornet and there have never been any sightings in the UK.

“Our message is the same – be on the look-out for it but we are not expecting it to arrive in swarms over the Channel.”

Jenny Spon-Smith, the general secretary of the Kent Bee-keepers’ Association, said on its website: “We would encourage bee-keepers particularly in this area to familiarise themselves with the Asian hornet and remain vigilant when visiting their apiaries and inspecting their colonies.”

In the event of an invasion, Defra has an action plan already in place.

This includes the early detection, interception and work to prevent them from establishing colonies.

Defra also said a programme of nest destruction will be implemented to eradicate localised outbreaks.

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