The Asian Hornet, present in France since 2004, has spread as far as Brittany and Belgium, so the risk of it reaching this country is now very high. Asian Hornets are slightly smaller than our native hornets and have different markings. They catch and kill honey bees at their hive entrances, and are a serious threat to bee colonies. The National Bee Unit think they might arrive in 2014, but they could be here this year and beekeepers are asked to watch out for them. The aim is to detect them quickly so that nests of the early arrivals can be destroyed and the spread of the insect in the UK can be limited.
Three very useful publications are available:
-from Britain’s Non-Native Species Secretariat, a two-page guide and an Alert poster giving key identification information
– from the National Bee Unit, a guide to making and using a very simple Asian Hornet Trap
Anyone who finds what they believe to be an Asian Hornet should contact the NNSS by email at firstname.lastname@example.org , if possible sending a photo of the insect.