The honey bee-killing Asian Hornets (Vespa velutina) are so dangerous to insects that experts from the National Bee Unit (NBU) and the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) are asking for our help to quickly find and destroy any nests.
The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) has so far confirmed that there have been 13 sightings of the insects to date in England, and six nests have been destroyed.
Nine of those have been this year, with a Guildford sighting taking place on September 28.
Nicola Spence, chief plant health officer at DEFRA, said:
By ensuring we are alerted to possible sightings as early as possible, we can take swift and effective action to stamp out the threat posed by Asian hornets.
The most recent sighting was in Kent on October 15. Prior to that, there were two sightings reported in Hampshire.
DEFRA is asking anyone who sees an Asian hornet (Vespa velutina) to report it immediately.
SBKA has set up an Asian Hornet Action Plan:
This collaborative plan is designed to strengthen and improve our current level of awareness and potential struggle against the invasion of this aggressive predator. It is intended to be simple, robust, easily implemented and therefore repeatable throughout the Southeast.
This plan has two key aims:
- To increase the level of awareness about the threat of the Asian Hornet to a high vigilance level with all beekeepers and to provide them with support to actively monitor their own apiaries in a proven, consistent way.
- To raise awareness with the general public about this threat and inform them what to do if it is seen.
How to do this
It is proposed that each BK association will form a core group of willing and capable members to create an Asian Hornet Action Team (AHAT) along the lines of the Devon Beekeepers association and the AHAT website with some additional roles.
Each team will have two main functions:
- To take responsibility for organising and implementing an awareness campaign throughout the divisions’ geographic area for the general public and to all beekeepers whether members or not.
- To offer support to any beekeeper who needs help or instruction in how to monitor their apiary, to make sure that the trap is functioning effectively. To be available as a first point of call to any uncertain sightings where AH identification is vague and verification is needed, to visit the site if necessary and to then report it through the appropriate channels.