6 May 2013

Asian Hornet

In April DEFRA updated its' warning about the "Early Detection of the Asian Hornet" (Vespa velutina). Updates and warnings will only be sent to beekeepers who have registered with Beebase as well as, presumably, to local beekeeping organisations which may, or may not, pass on information to their members.

This voracious predator of honey bees is, apparently, now in Normandy and is likely to arrive in Britain before too long.

It's important to take time make sure you can identify it, and make absolutely sure that what you have seen, or caught, is not the native hornet (Vespa crabro) which isn't as much of a problem for our bees - because they have evolved to deal with it and, generally, our hive entrances are too small for it to be able to get into the hive. One recommendation, to prevent the Asian hornet entering our hives, is to reduce the entrance to 5.5mm height.

Traps can be made. They don't look much, but experience in France has proved them to be adequate. The idea is to trap queens coming out of hibernation in early Spring. This French site (written in English) has recent photographs of the Asian Hornet, diagrams of a trap, and a link to a French-based forum.

There is more information on the BBKA website and the Non-native Species Secretariat.

If you suspect you have caught one of these hornets you should put the insect in your freezer and send a photograph to:- alert_nonnative@ceh.ac.uk They will tell you what to do next.


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