Invading homes and potentially harming people already sounds bad enough, but it looks like the oriental hornets persisting throughout Malta are posing a new kind of problem, and it’s directly affecting pet owners.
After reappearing all over the Maltese islands in the beginning of the last decade, the indigenous Żunżan Bagħal has been escalating exponentially at an alarming rate in recent years. Now, an old warning has returned to the forefront of experts’ advice after a worrying pattern started emerging.
Speaking to TVM following a very busy couple of months, exterminator extraordinaire Arnold Sciberras has reiterated one of the main features of the invading insects… and what it mean to the island’s pet owners.
“These are carnivores and eat all kinds of meat,” Sciberras warned. “Now when you have a plate full of wet cat food, there’s going to be a nest nearby and you’ll notice this because everyone complains that where there is food there is usually far more of these wasps than there are cats.”
“Often, it becomes a race between which of these eats more and sometimes animals are stung and need veterinary care.”
In fact, people like Sciberras – who is a consultant in the management of destructive insects – are currently appealing to the public (and have been for years) to not leave any pett food lying around… especially if you know there’s a hornet nest around.
“When there’s wet food placed outside like this, you actually end up seeing more hornets than cats,” Sciberras told TVM.
The fact of the matter remains that these highly social and potentially dangerous insects are attracted to inhabited, urban areas. Don’t think trees for nests, but exposed bricks and ventilators.
And while Sliema and St. Julian’s have been known to be popular haunts of the stinging hornets, the carnivorous insects seem to also be tremondously increasing in other localities like Rabat.
The good thing is that, if left unprovoked, an oriental hornet is very unlikely to attack people.
The important thing to remember, though, is that any one killed hornet has the ability to release a distress signal-pheromone that could trigger an entire colony to attack. And that could actually be pretty dangerous to humans.
In other words, if you encounter a hornet, you should not approach it, and if you notice a nest near your residence, you should report to the Health Directorate to have it safely and effectively removed.
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