Wildlife lovers urged to help native bee species being wiped out by invading Asian hornet

The non-native species poses a risk to honey bees and pollinating insects.

PICTURED: Asian hornet

Wildlife lovers in Gedling borough are being urged to keep a look out for a species of invading hornets that pose a huge threat to the survival of the UK’s native bee population.

The Asian hornet (Vespa velutina) is a species of hornet which is not native to the UK. It is smaller than our native hornet and poses no greater risk to human health than other hornets or bees.

However, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) say they do pose a risk to honey bees and pollinating insects. The government agency working hard to stop this insect establishing in the UK, and are now urging people in the borough to report suspected sightings.

When a sighting is confirmed, in the area, experts from the National Bee Unit (NBU) and the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) will be alerted and tasked with finding and then destroying any active nests in the area.

To date, twelve confirmed sightings of the Asian hornet in England and six nests have been destroyed.

HELP: The European Hornet on the left, Asian Hornet on the right (Image: Defra)

Eight of these sightings occurred in 2018; an individual hornet in Lancashire (April) and Hull, three in Cornwall, two in Hampshire and the latest sighting in Surrey (all September).

Nicola Spence, chief plant health officer at Defra, said it was crucial people in the borough report any possible sightings so experts can take quick and effective action to eradicate Asian hornets.


She said: “By ensuring we are alerted to possible sightings as early as possible, we can take swift and effective action to stamp out the threat posed by Asian hornets.

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“While the Asian hornet poses no greater risk to human health than a bee, we recognise the damage they can cause to honey bee colonies and other beneficial insects.

“Please continue to look out for any Asian hornets and if you think you’ve spotted one, report your sighting through the Asian hornet app or online.”

How to spot an Asian hornet

Asian hornets:

have a dark brown or black velvety body
have a yellow or orange band on fourth segment of abdomen
have yellow tipped legs
are smaller than the native European hornet
are not active at night

You can download the app from Apple and Google Play stores or report it online here http://www.nonnativespecies.org/home/index.cfm 

1 Comment

  1. I saw one of these on Saturday in my garden in Bakersfield, sure it was the European hornet though. about 2 inches long but more yellow that dark colour.

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