A BEE keeper has voiced his concerns after it was confirmed a deadly hornet had arrived in the UK.

The National Bee Unit, in Sand Hutton, has contacted the bee keeping community to warn them after the Asian Hornet was spotted in Gloucestershire.

This is the first time this type of hornet has been seen in this country and has caused alarm among keepers as it poses a deadly risk to honey bees.

Also known as the Yellow Legged Hornet, the insect is native to Asia and was confirmed for the first time in Lot-et-Garonne in the South West of France in 2004.

It is believed to have been transported to the continent in pottery from China and is feared because of its tendency to prey on honey bees and disrupt commercial bee keeping activities.

Derek Broadbent, a member of York Bee Keeping, said: “This is a concern to everybody in the bee world.

“We’ve been told to keep our eyes open because we don’t want it to get established because it could decimate our colonies.

“They are not deadly to humans but if one attacks, the rest will follow and it’s 10 times worse than being stung by a bee or wasp.”

Work to identify, destroy and remove any nests is already underway, which includes opening a local control centre to coordinate the response.

The organisation has also deployed bee inspectors across the area and has experts who will use pesticides to kill the hornets and destroy any nests they come across.

A spokesman for the National Bee Unit added: “The Asian hornet is smaller than our native hornet and poses no greater risk to human health than a bee.

"However, they do pose a risk to honey bees.”

Any suspected Asian hornet sightings should be reported to alertnonnative@ceh.ac.uk Anyone sending an e-mail should include their name, the location of the sighting and if possible, a photograph of the hornet.

The unit has also warned against taking photographs of the hornets as people can put themselves in danger by coming into close contact with the insects.