British beekeepers are concerned that the Asian Hornet, first discovered in SW France in 2005, has travelled northwards. These insects are voracious predators of honeybees and all other pollinators. If they become established in large numbers they will have a serious effect on insect populations and subsequently on birds too as their food source is depleted.
This year, the island of Jersey has been overrun with Asian hornet nests. On the mainland, single hornets have been seen at Hull, Bury, Guildford and Liskeard and two nests destroyed at Fowey. More recently one was found very close to home at New Alresford. The National Bee Unit’s inspectors are working to confirm numerous sightings along the south coast and destroy nests when found, and local beekeeping organisations are monitoring traps and disseminating information locally.
Asian hornets are slightly smaller than our European hornets, which look like large wasps. The Asian hornet is predominantly black or dark brown, with a yellow-orange stripe near the end of the abdomen; the face is orange and the ends of the legs are yellow – hence it is also known as the Yellow Legged Hornet. At this time of the year queens are emerging from nests looking for hibernation sites before establishing new nests in the spring. Autumn and early spring monitoring and reporting is vital. The hornets are no more dangerous to humans than our native hornets but will attack if a nest is disturbed. Most nests are high in trees, but some may be in hedges or sheds and greenhouses.
Asian hornets sightings must be reported. People are urged to be vigilant, especially near water. Farnham Beekeepers have an Asian Hornet Action Team which works in tandem with the NBU to help identify nest sites. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or your local beekeeping association if you suspect that you have seen one of these hornets. Alternatively contact email@example.com or www.nationalbeeunit.com with a photograph of one if possible or with a sample if a dead one is found.
If you can, take a photo, note the time and place it was seen, follow it to see where it goes.
You can also report a sighting at https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-app-to-report-asian-hornet-sightings
Find out more at https://www.bbka.org.uk/pages/faqs/category/asian-hornet-faqs
See the Asian Hornet Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/groups/345541099280201/
Sky news have also been alerting people to the dangers. See their piece here https://news.sky.com/story/uk-on-high-alert-over-asian-hornets-heading-for-britain-11744108
The Express published the following https://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/1154649/asian-hornet-alert-how-to-tell-if-asian-hornets-what-to-do-jersey