A Kempshott pest controller says the dreaded hornet and wasp season has started a lot earlier than normal.

Shane Jones has been in the business for seven years but has never seen the creatures out this soon.

"Each year, insect season begins, and we start getting calls for wasps and hornets usually middle to end of June," he told the Gazette.

“But this year it is strangely, really early.

"The first thing wasps, and particularly the queen, need to do after waking up from hibernation is to eat.

"Sometimes when they come out early there is nothing to eat and then they die, but not this year. This year because of the warmer temperature, a lot more insects in general are out which gives them more to feed on."

The 51-year-old currently works for Ridtek Pest Control and has already had several European hornet callouts this month.

But these creatures, as dangerous as they can be, should not be confused with Asian hornets or ‘murder hornets’ as they have recently been referred to as.

"The European one has been in the UK for many years," Mr Jones added.

"But the Asian hornet is an introduced species and it’s a pest. It made its ways to the shores in 2016, but there have not been that many sightings.

"The quickest way to tell the difference is that the Asian hornet has bright yellow legs and the European hornet has brown legs."

In fact, the Asian hornet is so uncommon that there have been just 17 confirmed sightings of it in England with nine nests having been destroyed, according to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).

A message from DEFRA about the Asian hornet read: "It is smaller than our native hornet and single hornets pose no greater risk to human health than other hornets or bees.

"However, they do pose a risk to honeybees and pollinating insects. This is why we are keen to stop this insect establishing in the UK, and why you should report suspected sightings."

But closer to home in Basingstoke, although the Asian hornet may not be a problem, Mr Jones says that anyone who spots the native European hornet should call a professional as a sting can cause someone to go into anaphylactic shock.