As the summer and the beekeeping season slowly winds down into Autumn, the confirmed sightings of Asian hornets (Vespa velutina) start to increase. Why we are more inclined to see them now is a bit of a mystery. Possibly it’s because the nests have reached their maximum population and may be their feeding habits are changing as they move from producing workers to producing males and then queens, which may bring them into closer contact with people.
To date this year we have had less than the nine confirmed sightings of Asian hornets in 2018 and doesn’t follow the trend we were expecting – do not be lulled into a false sense of security. This year may be a blip and we cannot afford to become complacent.
The threat to UK bees and the wider environment is still very real and should not be ignored.
We are seeing a developing concentration of Asian hornet sightings around the Dorset/Hampshire area – Poole and Brockenhurst in 2018 and the Christchurch and New Milton sightings this year.
Does this indicate a population establishing itself or the danger of Asian hornets coming in through a busy port?
What can you do?
We can all do something to help prevent an invasion.
- Does your local beekeeping branch have a strong Asian Hornet Action Team? If not, support them to get organised and have their name(s) added to this website.
- Support your local Asian Hornet Action Team by becoming a first responder.
- Educate the public – carry the Asian hornet ID postcard with you so you can be ready to inform the public, and ideally have two cards – one ready to give away.
- Make sure that whenever you see a notice board, it has the Asian hornet poster on it.
- If you use social media, join an Asian Hornet Action Team group and keep up to date.
What will happen post-Brexit?
There may come a time when the National Bee Unit no longer has the role of tracking and organising Asian hornet nest destruction. We will need to be prepared because post-Brexit, because the National Bee Unit receives a large amount of its funding form Europe, we don’t know how their role will change.