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
  • Seasonal Bee Inspector (SBI) vacancies
    22 September 2022
    The National Bee Unit currently has a Seasonal Bee Inspector (SBI) vacancies advertised in:
    • Wales: Whole country, but particularly north and Ceredigion.
    • South West: Whole region
    • West: Avon, Staffordshire, Shropshire
    • East: Norfolk, but particularly north
    • North East: Lincolnshire, East Yorkshire
    • North West: Greater Sheffield area (SW Yorkshire, NW Derbyshire)
    • Central: Northamptonshire, North Buckinghamshire, Hampshire
    • South East: Kent, East Sussex

    If you are interested in applying for these jobs, full details can be found on Civil Service Jobs

    If you have any questions regarding the position, please contact the Regional Bee Inspector for the region.
  • Credible sighting of a single Asian hornet near Chelmsford, Essex
    26 August 2022
    National Bee Unit inspectors are carrying out enhanced surveillance near Chelmsford, in response to a compelling report of Asian hornet (Vespa velutina).

    Further information regarding the yellow-legged Asian hornet can be found on Defra's Asian Hornet sightings page and on BeeBase’s Asian hornet page. For media enquiries, please contact the Defra Press Office: 0330 0416560

    We ask beekeepers to remain vigilant, record monitoring trap locations on BeeBase by logging in and updating their my apiaries page, report suspected sightings using the ‘Asian hornet Watch’ app for iPhone and Android, or the online reporting form.

  • BeeBase Email Outage
    18 August 2022
    During the period Midday 12th August to Midday 17th August, some automated emails from BeeBase will not have been sent. 

    Therefore, if you did not receive an email when expected please re-submit your request. 

    Some systems affected included:
    • Password reset emails
    • Username reminders

    All emails are now being processed as normal
    .