Beekeepers are urging people to spot and report sightings of Asian hornets, which pose a threat to native honey bees.

Asian hornets are a destructive invasive species that specialise in preying on honeybee hives, with one hornet able to kill up to 60 honeybees per day.

First discovered in the UK in 2016, the insect has travelled from northern Europe to Britain, with 72 nests in 56 different locations found last year.

The South East region is the most predominantly affected, but sightings have been made in a range of other locations, including as far north as Scotland.

Following a credible sighting in January, fears have been sparked that the non-native insect may have become established in the UK.

Experts have warned of potential catastrophic consequences from the hornets, as well as a significant risk to public health as the insects aggressively defend their nests in hedgerows and brambles.

In France, the cost to the economy from Asian hornets is estimated to be in excess of £26 million every year.

Brighton members of the British Beekeepers’ Association are calling on the public to be vigilant and look out for Asian hornets and nests as spring arrives.

An Asian hornet is around two to three times the size of a common wasp and can be identified by its distinct markings, with yellow-tipped legs, darker abdomens and orange faces.

Sightings of the insects should be reported on the Asian Hornet Watch app, which is available to download on iOS and Android.

Expert teams from the National Bee Unit, part of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), will be deployed to track hornets back to their nests, which are then destroyed.