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,
They were found in the Tetbury area of Gloucestershire in September 2016. The National Bee Unit found and destroyed a nest, which they believe was the only one in the area. A single hornet was found near Woolacombe in Devon in September 2017.
Beekeepers should check for the presence of Asian hornets by putting out traps. 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. Sugary liquid bait should be used in the spring, and a fish-based bait is recommended in the late summer when hornets are looking for protein to feed their young.
Simple wasp traps will also catch European and Asian Hornets if the trap entrance is at least 12mm diameter.
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