The Asian hornet is an invasive non-native hornet originally from Asia. It is a highly aggressive predator of native insects and poses a significant threat to honey bees, other pollinators and even moths and butterflies. In 2004 it was accidentally introduced to France where it has spread rapidly and into neighbouring countries and is moving north. 65% of the honey bee population in Galicia has been destroyed by the Asian Hornet. The Asian hornet arrived in Jersey in 2016, the first emergent queen of the season was found there on Sunday 2 February 2020.
Since 2016 a number of sightings have been recorded in the UK and locally we seem to be in an area attractive to the Asian Hornet. A nest was found and destroyed in Brockenhurst in 2018. In July 2019 a confirmed sighting was made in New Milton, that autumn two nests were found and were destroyed near Christchurch.
The Asian hornet looks black with a yellow/orange band on the fourth segment and yellow legs. In contrast the European hornet is brown, with a yellow abdomen and brown legs, it is also larger than the Asian Hornet.
Many of you will have seen the European hornet in the forest, one flew into the unit at Bolderwood when I was working there last spring.
At this time of the year, over-wintering queens may be coming out of hibernation and as part of a country-wide initiative we are asking beekeepers and the general public to help by spotting hornets in their gardens and when they are out and about having a walk.
Please can you download the Asian Hornet Watch app free of charge from the Apple and Android app stores. The app provides an identification guide to help check which species you have seen and an opportunity to take a picture, record and report your sightings.
For further information on the Asian hornet then do have a look at the rest of the Asian hornet pages and the notes we took at the BBKA Asian hornet conference held in February 2020.
You can also visit these sites:
www.nationalbeeunit.com – search Asian hornet
If you would like to get involved then email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
WHAT TO DO IF YOU SEE SOMETHING SUSPICIOUS?
STOP! Assess the situation. Stay 10 metres away and don’t touch, disturb or cause vibrations around a nest. Take a photograph if it is safe to do so. Report any possible hornet or nest sightings by using the Asian Hornet Watch App, emailing email@example.com or calling our Asian Hornet hotline on 07849 102621.