As many of you know, the Asian hornet, Vespa velutina, is a predator of honey bees and other beneficial insects. It has recently extended its geographical range from Asia to mainland Europe following an accidental introduction to France, and is now also present in Spain, Belgium, Portugal and Italy. Adult hornets are highly mobile; the rate of spread across France is approximately 100 km/year. There is concern that this exotic insect could reach the UK, either by hitching a ride on imported goods or simply by flying across the Channel.
The message to Beekeepers from the NBU is as follows:
• Now is the ideal time of year to look out for emerging queens, who can build new nests;
• Make sure you know how to recognise Asian hornets – a very helpful ID sheet can be downloaded from the NNSS website at http://www.nonnativespecies.org/alerts/index.cfm?id=4
• Know where to report sightings: firstname.lastname@example.org
• Our best defence against the Asian hornet is to quickly detect any arrivals and prevent them from establishing;
• Trapping is expected to aid this;
• Please visit the Asian hornet pages on BeeBase click here to read updated guidance for beekeepers, including information on early monitoring and trap design. You can also access the full Response Plan through these pages.