The invasive species ‘Asian Hornet’ (Vespa velutina) poses a significant threat to bee keeping and public safety, it is an aggressive and voracious predator that has been spreading across Europe and now threatens to cross the channel. This danger is being taken very seriously and the NBU (DEFRA/APHA) teams respond rapidly to any reports of individual insects or nests. A local report, even an unconfirmed one is extremely worrying – please could we all association members familiarize themselves with the identification of this species, install the Asian Hornet Watch app on their phones and if local to the reported areas of Sudbury and Leavenheath set up traps/monitoring stations. Read on for further details.
The APHA writes “a member of the public has reported two sightings of Asian hornet, one near Sudbury and another near Leavenheath. It would be helpful if Beekeepers and Asian Hornet Team members could be on high alert to monitor between these areas, we don’t want to narrow surveillance too much as Asian hornet can fly considerable distances.”
Full report reads: “No photos. I’m afraid I was simply not quick enough with my phone in order to take a photograph, neither am I an entomologist by any means, but I am a professionally trained, wildlife sound recordist with a lifelong interest in wildlife. I am also a member of the Bumblebee Conservation Society among others. None of this makes me an expert in any way of course. My first response was to check your ID sheet along with other ID tools from reliable sources, and I have no doubt in my mind that these were both Asian hornets (I submitted 2 reports of sightings 1 day apart) Nonetheless, thank you for taking the time to check my reports and to reply to me. I will continue to keep an eye out and endeavour to be quicker with my camera or a container of some sort in the future.”
Setup of monitoring stations are described in this article: https://aphascience.blog.gov.uk/…/asian-hornet-week…/
This links takes you directly to a handy ID sheet:https://www.nationalbeeunit.com/…/01_ID_Vespa_velutina…
Links to the Asian Hornet Watch app:iPhone: https://apps.apple.com/…/asian-hornet-watch/id1161238813