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The Asian Hornet

On Wednesday, 29th November Mark Newman gave a presentation on his experience of dealing with the Asian Hornet in Jersey. Mark emphasised the need to be vigilant and prepared, our state of readiness really does rely on the Beekeeper being able to recognise this predator and provide verifiable evidence when reporting.

How many times have we been called out to assist with a swarm of honey bees that have turned out to be wasps or bumble bees? The situation is exactly the same for the bee inspectors who have to investigate possible sightings of the Asian Hornet. The best evidence is a photograph, and the best photograph can be obtained from a captured Asian Hornet, which can be surprisingly easy with the right kit, Mark explained.

All you need is a regular wasp trap, some tissue paper and the right bait. The bait is crucial in all of this. According to Mark, his Jersey experience revealed the most effective bait is a liquid called Trappit, which the Hornet finds irresistible. Spill a little on the tissue, place in the wasp trap and leave it out. The idea is not to drown the Hornet in the liquid as we would when trapping wasps, but to trap a live specimen that can be photographed and verified. Once verified a team will come out in search of the nest.

What’s all the Fuss About?

Asian Hornets have a dark brown or black velvety body, a dark abdomen and yellow tipped legs. They are described by the government-linked GB non-native species secretariat as a “highly aggressive predator of native insects”. Each Asian hornet can eat 50 bees in a day, multiply that by a nest of 6,000 hornets and you quickly start to appreciate the size of the problem. But it gets worse, much worse, because a single queen can produce hundreds of new queens and it is from the established nest that the explosion starts.

Bee Aware

Since the Asian Hornet preys on Honey Bees Beekeepers need to be aware and keep a sharp look out. As an association we will be discussing a strategy going forward which we will relay to members at the earliest opportunity. If all Beekeepers load the Asian Hornet Watch app on their mobile phones and set out a trap in early spring around their apiary to monitor for the presence of the Asian Hornet, we can hopefully respond quickly to any confirmed sightings to prevent it spreading. Doing nothing is like doing something, it’s choosing to be complicit and that’s not something I could advocate as a Beekeeper!

 

How to report an Asian hornet

If you suspect you have seen an Asian hornet you should report this using the ‘Asian Hornet Watch’ app:

You can also report sightings by email: alertnonnative@ceh.ac.uk. Please include information on location, date and number of Asian hornets you have seen. Please also include a photo if you can to help our experts identify the insect.

Alternatively, you can fill out an online report form

If you find a nest, don’t try to remove it yourself – it can be dangerous and should only be done by experts.

 

 

 

 

Below is a link to a list of Pollen and nectar rich plants for your garden

POLLEN RICH PLANTS

 

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