The Asian Hornet
By Rebecca Teare
This year a beekeeper in Kent lost 16 of his 17 hives. The culprit? An invasive non-native species of hornet that has swept through Europe, decimating honeybees and other native pollinators. If we think it’s just a honeybee problem, it isn’t. Asian Hornet’s diet is only 20% honeybees and 80% all other pollinators. The Asian Hornet has now invaded the UK, with over 60 nests destroyed this year by the hard-working National Bee Unit (NBU), the government body responsible for bee health in England and Wales.
A single Asian Hornet nest can eat 12kg of native pollinators! Beekeeping associations are doing their best to support the NBU, but here’s what you can do:
- Download the Asian Hornet Watch app from your App store or use this QR code (below). This will help you identify Asian Hornets vs similar native species to report any suspected sighting. All you need do is to upload a photo and the location.
- It’s vital that we can raise awareness at home and at work. If you are working in any green space, you can play a vital part in alerting the NBU to any sightings. Next Spring, we will be asking members of the public to help us monitor and trap young Asian Hornet queens as they emerge from hibernation, before they can establish nests.
- Lobby government (DEFRA) to request increased funding for the NBU, to help them address the Asian Hornet threat whilst resuming normal honeybee disease inspections.
Thank you on behalf of all our native crawlers and buzzers!