Health Implications

Some invasive non-native species need to be managed due to their potential effect on human health. This includes species such as giant hogweed (Heracleum mantegazzianum), oak processionary moth (Thaumetopoea processionea) and the Asian hornet (Vespa velutina).

These species need to be managed as they present unique risks. Giant hogweed sap, on contact with skin and in the presence of sunlight, can cause phyto-photodermetitis. This is a condition where the skin reddens and can become burnt and blisters. After initial contact the burn can remain for several months and can become sensitive to light after the initial burn has lessened. Giant hogweed presents a particular concern in community parks and open spaces and more information on health and safety specifically for giant hogweed can be found here.

While Asian hornet is a good example of an invasive non-native species that is not yet present in Great Britain but is spreading rapidly from France where it was recently recorded. Aside from considerable environmental and economic concerns, it also poses a threat to human health due to its ability to sting. More information on the Asian hornet can be found here.

As we know there are a range of species that are able to compromise human health, therefore we need to carefully consider these health and safety considerations as part of any invasive non-native management programme.