An environmental scientist has warned of the possible impact of the Asian hornet, a large wasp-like species that has been discovered for the first time in Ireland last week.

Dr Fidelma Butler, a lecturer in University College Cork's School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences said that the Asian hornet can pose a threat to honeybees, wasps and pollinators in general as it preys on them.

Speaking to RTÉ's Morning Ireland, Dr Butler said they are "large insects with a high energy requirement" and so are voracious eaters.

She said that there have been 19 sightings of the insect being located and removed in the UK since 2016, and the first live specimen in Ireland was discovered in Dublin last week.

However, Dr Butler said that the species is now widespread throughout Spain and France, where it first arrived in 2004, with hundreds of thousands of the insect per square kilometre in France today.

She said that with sustained attack from the Asian hornet honeybee colonies face collapse.

The public have been asked to report any possible sightings of the insect to the National Parks and Wildlife Service.

Dr Butler said the Asian Hornet is black with a large body measuring around 2.5cm and yellow-tipped legs.

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