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
  • Beebase Registrations
    19 August 2019
    Due to an IT problem there may be a delay in processing some Beebase registrations. Apologies for any inconvenience caused.
  • Reported Turkish bee has been identified as a UK native leafcutter bee
    05 August 2019
    DNA barcoding analysis of a suspect sample of Osmia spp. from Turkey has confirmed it to be a native UK species of leafcutter bee, Megachile centuncularis.

    The UK has a diverse variety of native bees and we encourage members of the public to seek identification of bee species through the many groups and societies with a particular interest in entomology such as; The ‘BWARS’ (Bees Wasps and Ants Recording Society) Facebook page, https://www.royensoc.co.uk/identifying-insects or https://www.nhm.ac.uk/take-part/identify-nature.html. Sightings may be recorded with the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology; https://www.brc.ac.uk/irecord/enter-casual-record.

    We encourage the reporting of non-native species identified by interest groups or members of the public. Guidance on where to report this information can be found on the GB Non-native Species Secretariat (GB NNSS) website (www.nonnativespecies.org/recording). The Government will then take action in accordance with the GB Invasive Non-native Species Strategy to minimise the risks they pose to our flora and fauna. We encourage everyone who travels abroad to check luggage especially if it has been kept outside during their trip. If you do spot a stowaway upon your return to the UK you should report it with the dates and places you went on holiday, and ideally a photo of the insect via the GB NNSS website.
  • Asian hornet in New Milton, Hampshire
    03 July 2019

    The National Bee Unit has today (Wednesday 3 July 2019) confirmed a sighting of an individual, female Asian hornet in New Milton, Hampshire, after it was reported by a member of the public. Based upon visual examination, the hornet is likely to be a queen.

    Further information can be found here.