The National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) has confirmed that a single specimen of the invasive alien species Asian Hornet has been found in this country.
The discovery marks the first identification of the species in the wild here and the specimen was found ‘alive but dying’ in a private house on the northside of Dublin.
So far, there is no indication of a nest in the vicinity.
The circumstances of how the Hornet arrived in Ireland are not known but given current weather patterns it seems less likely to have come from an established nest.
And, while the discovery of a single specimen is not a cause for alarm, the NPWS says it highlights the “potential” that is there for invasive alien species to find a path of introduction into new areas.
“It also serves as a timely reminder that we should be prepared to deal with the threat they pose to biodiversity and local ecosystems,” Minister of State Malcolm Noonan said.
“It is important that there should not be an over-reaction to sightings of other large insects such as wood wasps and native social wasps.
“It is imperative other species are not targeted, disrupted or destroyed on foot of this discovery of the Asian Hornet specimen.”
Meanwhile, the Asian Hornet is a predator of honeybees, wasps, and pollinators such as bumblebees, hoverflies and spiders - which it uses primarily to feed its larvae.
Its prey are important for pollination of crops as well as wild flora and disruptions to their populations could have serious impacts on biodiversity and pollination services.
The potential of the Hornet to become invasive in Ireland is dependent on its successful establishment of colonies here.
NPWS is working closely with the Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine to monitor the situation.
Additional surveillance is in place at entry points in Ireland with direct access to mainland Europe including ports, airports and large distribution hubs.
Other surveillance traps will be set in strategic locations from the original point of detection in Dublin 3.