If you haven’t encountered the giant Asian hornet before, you’re one of the lucky ones. The things are pure evil in insect form. They are also rapidly making their way through Europe, killing people and devastating local bee populations they go. This week, a DJI drone inspecting a suspected nest on the island of Jersey came under attack as pest control tried to get a closer look.
Jersey is an island in the channel between France and England – a narrow stretch of water that’s the only reason Asian hornets haven’t yet reached the UK. A local fire service was using a DJI Inspire to inspect a suspected next when the drone came under attack from thousands of angry residents.
It’s thought that some 6,000 hornets were drawn out by the sound of propellers, before spraying the drone with venom. It was the first “secondary nest” found in the Channel Islands amid growing fears that the insects are getting ever closer to the UK mainland.
Speaking to the BBC, Bob Hogge of the Jersey Beekeepers Association, said: “It is vital that we get rid of the nest in the next few weeks before the queens emerge because there are about 200 queens in each nest and once they’re out and mated they’re lost to us. And if each one of those makes a nest like this one, very soon the island will be overrun.”
How drones are helping in the fight against hornets
As you might expect, drones are pretty useful when it comes to hornet reconnaissance. Once an area has been pinpointed for containing hornet activity, pilots can search for nests that are often high up or hidden behind branches, providing a live feed to a team on the ground. Finding the nest is the first step toward taking it down, after all.
Second, drones can also be fitted with thermal imaging cameras to more easily discover nests from above. Last year we featured a French company, Drone Volt, which is developing drones that can discover and destroy pest’s nests. Their new tethered solution, Hercules, is one example of an aerial platform ideal for dealing with hornets in the wild.