Deadly Asian hornet wasps have been spotted in Donegal and Derry recently, a pest control expert has warned.
At least six people have died in France from anaphylactic shock after being stung by the hornets, the Irish Independent reports.
The wasps, whose stinger has been compared to a sewing needle, also behead bees and cause serious damage to bee colonies.
Pest control expert Kieran Lamber said that their stings are more painful, and if allergic death may occur.
He said: “It’s a bigger stinger, so naturally it’s going to hurt you that bit more. If they do become established here, I won’t be looking forward to going and treating a hornet’s nest, let’s put it that way.
“Health wise though, they’re just like any other stinging insect, it all just depends how it affects you.”
The deadly insects are thought to have been accidentally imported to France over 20 years ago in a shipment from China, and have become common in mainland Europe.
Anyone who spots a suspected hornet is asked to contact the Irish Pest Control Association.
“Even if you think it’s a normal wasp but might be a hornet wasp, send it in so we can at least properly identify it,” Mr Lambert said.