Bee-killing hornets invade France

Nov. 8, 2012 at 3:02 PM

PARIS, Nov. 8 (UPI) -- Invasive bee-killing Asian hornets have arrived in Paris and one man has died after being stung by the black and yellow striped insects, officials said.

France has officially declared the pest, which is rapidly advancing to the north, a "harmful and invasive exotic species," Britain's The Daily Telegraph reported Thursday.

The hornets, which experts said may have arrived in southwestern France in a consignment of Chinese pottery in late 2004, have no indigenous predators in France.

Beekeepers in France said they are worried about their hives, as honeybees are the hornet's main source of food.

The hornets, which hover over hives and attack bees in flight, can destroy a beehive in a matter of hours.

A 54-year old man died Monday near the Loire wine-growing village of Saumur after disturbing a hornet nest while cutting his hedge.

The hornets, in an ongoing move northward, could cross into Britain by 2014, Franck Muller of the Museum of National History in Paris said.

"We have modeled its potential spread by cross-checking data from France and Asia, and concluded it is capable of living anywhere in Europe and certainly in Britain," he said.

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