Asian hornets are causing quite a buzz, with reports they are heading towards Kent and have already claimed six lives in France.

Here are 12 facts you should know about them…

1) Asian hornets can spray their poison up to half a metre.

2) Their stings can be deadly. Those who are allergic may go into anaphylactic shock and die unless treated promptly. Six people have died in France since 2004.

3) Like many wasps, they can attack en masse as a nest, so it’s best not to disturb them.

4) The queens grow up to 3cm in length and the workers up to 2.5cm

News Shopper:

Picture courtesy of the Food and Environment Research Agency (Fera), Crown Copyright

5) They have an entirely brown or black velvety body, bordered with a fine yellow band. The fourth abdominal segment is almost entirely yellow or orange. Their legs are brown with yellow ends and the head is black with a yellow face.

6) Asian hornets fly during the day and, unlike the European hornet, stops at night.

7) One Asian hornet can kill 40 bees in a minute. Just a handful of Asian hornets can destroy an entire nest of honey bees in only a couple of hours. 

8) The European hornet has hundreds of individuals per nest but the Asian hornet will have thousand of the creepy crawlies associated with one nest.

9) It is one of the most aggressive hornets. Though it is slightly bigger, the native Euro hornet is still no match for the Asian in a fight.

10) After in became established in Korea in 2003, it spread northwards at a rate of between 10 and 20 kilometres a year.

11) Since arriving on the continent in 2004, it has spread rapidly throughout most of France, Belgium and northern Spain.

News Shopper:

Picture: Fera, Crown Copyright

12) Asian hornets are just as at home in cities, building nests in shed, garages and sewers where access to food and water is easy.