Boozy hornets with 6mm stingers are not the only invasive bug from Asia that Brits need to be concerned about.
"It’s only a matter of time" until potentially deadly diseases are spread in the UK with the impending swarm of Asian tiger mosquitoes on our shores, says expert Dr Jolyon Medlock.
With Britain heating up year on year we can expect the invasive insect to harmlessly swoop in like a Trojan horse until hell breaks loose – and all it could take is one infected person returning from holiday.
READ MORE: Booze-loving Asian hornets set to invade UK pubs as terrifying beer garden warning issued
The result? Tropical diseases like Chikungunya, dengue fever and Zika fever could sweep the nation as blood-sucking bugs hop from one person to the next.
Francis Russell, Guernsey's chief Asian hornet trapper, told the Daily Star how he and his team are also on high alert for black and white mosquitoes from the same continent.
Your favourite newspaper has since investigated the threat of these minibeasts is to the UK.
Dr Medlock who is the head of medical entomology and zoonoses ecology at the UK Health Security Agency, warns: "It’s only a matter of time until we see a greater variety of diseases being transmitted by mosquitoes and ticks to humans in the UK."
This is due to insects' ability to digest their blood meal at a much faster rate at higher temperatures. The pathogen it carries can also develop more quickly.
Dr Medlock who oversees the south's surveillance system for invasive species, continued: "If our climate warms this means that both our native mosquitoes could become more abundant and non-native species could establish."
Heat at home is not the only cause for concern, as Dr Medlock explained: "The movement of mosquitoes is helped by globalisation and the movement of goods or traffic harbouring mosquito eggs or adults."
Since 2016 Asian tiger mosquitoes have been detected six times in the UK but crucially they haven't yet become established here.
Despite those sightings predating 2019, the insects they have spread Chikungunya disease in France and Italy – causing several human deaths.
Professor Jo Lines from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine told the Daily Star of the grim reality of how the Asian tiger mosquito, technically known as Aedes albopictus will hit the UK.
As the species of mosquito is native to Korea where temperatures can drop as low as -10C, Jo said it won't be "put off" by our cold winters.
More importantly though, "the warmer and longer the summer, the happier it is," Jo said.
He said: "Worth noting that it’s important to struggle to prevent or greatly delay the arrival of this species.
"What normally happens is that the mosquito arrives first, with no virus or transmission, and because there is no disease, the authorities say 'oh it’s just a few mosquitoes, no disease, so no need to worry at least not yet'.
"So then for a few years it’s left alone and allowed to settle in and get locally adapted.
"Then someone gets the infection on holiday (e.g. in India), and brings it home. Then there’s a nasty outbreak of local transmission and suddenly they want to get rid of the mosquito. But that’s no longer possible."
In the face of climate change the British Pest Control Association (BPCA), is taking the threat of invasion seriously.
The Asian tiger mosquito was accidentally introduced to Europe in the 1970s and has spread through much of southern Europe and has been gradually pushing northwards.
The Animal Plant Health Agency is leading £2.35million research into the diseases spread by not just the mosquitoes but ticks too.
Causing in excess of 700,000 deaths each year, vector-borne diseases (VBD) transmitted by mosquitoes account for more than 17% of all infectious diseases.
BCPA Technical Manager, Natalie Bungay, told the Daily Star: “While there’s no immediate danger to the public in the UK, changing climate conditions (ie warmer summers and milder winters) could help non-native species such as the Asian tiger mosquito, get a foothold in the country, particularly in the south.
"This is a species of concern and is a vector for disease, so we need to prepare to deal with this and any other invasive species that threaten public health.”
Her colleague BPCA Chief Exec, Simon Forrester added that professional pest control will be the line of defence in protecting the general public, firstly by identification to prevent the potentially deadly insect gaining a "toe-hold" in the UK.
Dee Ward-Thompson, BPCA Technical Manager has also urged anybody who comes across this insect to contact a professional pest controller, and the GB Non-native Species Secretariat.
"BPCA members are well-placed to address these issues, supported by the public being vigilant to the situation and being pest aware,” Dee said.
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