An Asian hornet has been sighted in the England for the first time. While the hornet is no greater threat to human, it poses a risk to honey bees
The Asian hornet arrived in France in 2004 and is now common across large areas of Europe. The hornets eat honeybees and are considered a substantial threat to the already vulnerable, but essential, British pollinators.
The National Bee Unit has confirmed the sighting of the Asian hornet in the Tetbury area of Gloucestershire and they have urged the public to report any sightings of the hornet or of a suspected nest to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Work has already begun to identify, destroy and remove any nests in the area by; setting up a 3 mile surveillance zone round Tetbury, opening a local control centre to coordinate the response, deploying bee inspectors across the area equipped with infrared cameras and traps to locate nests, and having nest disposal experts on call to use pesticides to kill hornets and to destroy any nests.
“We have been anticipating the arrival of the Asian hornet for some years and have a well-established protocol in place to eradicate them and control any potential spread,” said Defra Deputy Director for Plant and Bee Health, Nicola Spence. “It is important to remember they pose no greater risk to human health than a bee, though we recognise the damage they can cause to honey bee colonies. That’s why we are taking swift and robust action to identify and destroy any nests.”
It was discovered for the first time in Jersey and Alderney this summer, but it is believed the species will not be able survive in the north of the UK due to colder winters.