Horrendous hornet sting leaves man on crutches as hundreds of nests pop up

A man needed crutches after being stung by an oriental hornet while at a dinner party in Rome.

Andrea Velardi, 48, was visiting a friend near Campi de’ Fiori in the Italian capital when the species of wasp struck his foot.

Oriental hornets, which can grow up to 35mm long, were found in the Monteverde neighbourhood of Rome in 2021, but have since spread to the centre of the historic city.

Not to be confused with Asian hornets, the oriental hornet is reddish-brown and can inflict multiple stings. Their usual range includes parts of southern Europe, southwest Asia, northeast Africa and Madagascar.

Mr Velardi told the Guardian: “The pain was tremendous and my foot swelled up so much I couldn’t walk. I knew straight away that this wasn’t a normal wasp sting.”

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According to the same publication, nests filled with hundreds of oriental hornets have appeared in the city, even showing up in the crevices of its ancient monuments.

Mr Velardi used an ice pack before injecting cortisone to soothe the pain in his foot, which left him on crutches.

Warmer temperatures lasting for longer and waste management in Rome have been blamed for the hornets’ spread.

Zoologist Andrea Lunerti told the Guardian that open bins attract the critters as they search for food with the hornets able to adapt to any environment and reproduce at speed.

Inside their home range, Oriental hornets are considered agricultural pests with adults feeding on orchard and vine crops, stripping vegetation from ornamental shrubs and trees to construct nests and attacking honey bee colonies, according to the US Defense Centers for Public Health.

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While Express.co.uk understands there have not been any oriental hornet sightings in the UK this year, Asian hornets are feared by conservationists to have become established in Britain.

Four Asian hornet nests have been destroyed so far this month, in Dover, Folkestone, Ashford and Canterbury, according to the Government.

In September, there were confirmed sightings in Hampshire, Kent, Surrey, East Sussex, Essex, North Yorkshire and London.

It is important to report suspected sightings of the species as soon as possible with vigilance particularly required in southern parts of England and Wales and around major ports.

Asian hornets are active mainly between April and November, but they are inactive during the winter.

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