The Asian hornet is smaller than our native hornet and poses no greater risk to human health than a bee. However, they do pose a risk to honey bees because they will kill them when they need protein to feed their own larvae. Asian hornets are established in much of Europe, including France, and since 2016 the Natioanl Bee Unit have had to deal with both individual hornet sightings and established nests in the UK.
Beekeepers should check for the presence of Asian hornets by putting out traps, ideally non-kill monitoring traps that are checked and emptied daily. On warm spring days, mated queen hornets may emerge from hibernation as early as February, and worker hornets will be on the wing throughout the beekeeping season, right up until November, so hanging out traps between these two dates is a useful monitoring tool.
The National Bee Unit web site has full information about Asian Hornets and how to deal with them, information on suitable traps, and links to articles and videos covering the experience with Asian Hornets in France.
For the latest news from the National Bee Unit go to: NBU Beekeeping News