Fears are growing that giant killer hornets are heading for the UK, after causing the deaths of six people in France. The deadly Asian hornets have devastated villages across France since their arrival on a shipment of Chinese pottery in 2004. They can grow up to 5cm long – about twice the size of a standard hornet – and have a 6mm sting. The EAC’s report, published this week, highlighted the killer hornet as a particular cause for concern. It says “Some invasive species have direct human health effects…The Asian Hornet, which might soon arrive here, has killed six people in France.” It comes as a plague of giant rats terrorising households across the UK is striking fear into the hearts of millions of Brits. But killer hornets and giant rats aren’t the only alien species coming to Britain. The Government has warned that killer shrimp and other alien species are invading the UK’s ecosystems. Parliament’s green watchdog also highlighted the threat from the lethal flora and fauna which it says are attacking these shores at a higher rate than ever before.
The likes of Japanese knotweed, North American signal crayfish , zebra mussels and killer shrimp can damage British plants, animals – and even human health, the Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) heard. Killer shrimps, or dikerogammarus vilosus can grow up to 3cm and originate from the Black Sea. They even get their name from the fact that they kill even when they do not need to eat. Anglers coming into contact with giant hogweed, another species alien to Britain, have been left with painful swelling and rashes, while the pollen of common ragweed causes asthma. Other alien species include rhododendrons and the grey squirrel, which cause £10million worth of damage to trees every year, according to the Country Land and Business Association. In 2012, 1,875 foreign species were counted in the UK – 282 of which became “invasive” and cannot be eradicated. The EAC is calling for the Government to be given new powers to eradicate invasive species before they become established. Joan Walley, chair of the committee, said: “These invasive species can harm native wildlife, clog up our waterways, cause costly problems and even harm human health. “It is too expensive to control or eradicate all of them, so we have to be smart and pick the fights we we know we can win. We may just have to live with grey squirrels and rhododendrons in much of the UK.” Mirror