As beekeepers we are in a uniquely advantageous position to either trap or sight the Asian Hornet ‘Vespa Velutina’ and this is vital to preserve honeybees and other pollinating insects in the UK.

Asian hornets were initially brought to France in 2004, most likely in a shipment of pottery imported from east Asia. Since arriving in France, the species has spread rapidly and decimated pollinators, partiularly honeybees, in that country.

 

There is now an imminent threat to that this non-native species will start ot breed in this country. If it does so it will quickly spread throughout the country so it is imperative that any sightings of the hornet are immediately reported to the Non-Native Species Secretariat. It is possible to prevent Asian hornets from establishing in the UK, and a key part of this will be detecting any queens as they emerge from hibernation with queens emerging as early as February, now is the time to be vigilant.

How to distinguish the Asian Hornet from our native European Hornet:

  • Vespa velutina queens are up to 3 cm in length; workers up to 25 mm (slightly smaller than the native European hornet Vespa crabro which can reach 35mm)
  • The Asian Hornet has an entirely dark brown or black velvety body, bordered with a fine yellow band
  • The Asian Hornet has only one band on the abdomen: the 4th abdominal segment is almost entirely yellow/orange. European hornets, on the other hand, have a brown and yellow striped abdomen
  • The Asian Hornet is known as the 'Yellow legged hornet' with bright yellow tips to thier legs, European hornets have dark legs.
  • The Asian Hornet has a black head with an orange-yellow face
  • Vespa velutina is a day flying species which, unlike the European hornet which will fly at night, ceases activity at dusk

Further infortmation can be found on the BBKA website

Please download our helpful factsheet and place it on local notice boards and windows. The more awareness that there is in the public eye, the better for honey bees.

 


BeeBase

Beebase News Web feed
  • Social science study on how best to support beekeepers and bee farmers through education, information and advice
    20 January 2021
    Understanding how turnover (“churn”) among beekeepers can be managed and review information sources, learning methods and use of social media, to develop resources to support the beekeeping sector.

    Defra and Welsh Government have commissioned a social science study to gather information about different aspects of education and training. This includes getting a better understanding of how the turnover of beekeepers can be managed. It will also review information sources, learning methods and use of social media. The third part of the project will evaluate current continuous professional development schemes and resources to support bee farmers. The study which has just begun, has been contracted to ICF Consulting who have carried out a number of research projects in other areas for Defra. We are hoping that many beekeepers will participate in the project which will include a survey and further details will be announced soon.

    This work links into the Healthy Bees Plan 2030, working together to improve honey bee health and husbandry in England & Wales.
  • COVID-19 and Beekeeping update
    11 January 2021
    This is a re-issue of the guidance provided in October 2020:

    Please find the latest Covid-19 beekeeping guidance. The update includes separate links to the current Public Health Guidance for England, Wales and Scotland.

    Covid-19_and_Beekeeping_Update_v3

    COVID-19_and_Beekeeping_-_Welsh_Language_Version v3

    If you have any queries please contact:

    For England: BeeHealth.Info@defra.gov.uk
    For Wales: HoneyBeeHealth@gov.wales / GwenynMelIach@llyw.cymru
    For Scotland: Bees_Mailbox@gov.scot
  • Starvation and Varroa Alert
    04 December 2020
    Observations from beekeepers and Bee Inspectors across the UK suggest that some colonies of bees are becoming short of food.

    Please monitor your colonies throughout the coming months and feed as required to ensure your bees do not starve. A standard full size British National colony needs between 20-25 kg of stores to successfully overwinter. If they need feeding at this time then fondant should be used. This should be placed above the brood nest so that the bees are able to access it easily.

    For further information, please see the ‘Best Practice Guidance No. 7 - Feeding Bees Sugar’ on the following BeeBase Page: http://www.nationalbeeunit.com/index.cfm?pageid=167

    It has also been observed that Varroa levels in some hives are starting to increase again. This may be due to a number of factors, but the exceptionally mild weather this autumn has encouraged some colonies to produce more brood than usual which has allowed an increase in mite reproduction.

    Please monitor mite levels and treat accordingly.

    For further information, please see the’ Managing Varroa’ Advisory leaflet on the following BeeBase Page: http://www.nationalbeeunit.com/index.cfm?pageid=167