(updated 6 November 2016 with BBC video)
(updated 1 November 2016 to include instructions on traps)
The National Bee Unit has confirmed a sighting of the Asian hornet in the Tetbury area of Gloucestershire – the first time the hornet has been discovered in the UK.
The Asian hornet is smaller than our native hornet and poses no greater risk to human health than a bee. However, they do pose a risk to honey bees.
Work to identify, destroy and remove any nests is already underway, which includes:
- setting up a 3 mile surveillance zone around Tetbury
- opening a local control centre to coordinate the response
- deploying bee inspectors across the area who will use infrared cameras and traps to locate any nests
- readying nest disposal experts who will use pesticides to kill the hornets and destroy any nests
Nicola Spence, Defra Deputy Director for Plant and Bee Health, said:
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.
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.
We remain vigilant across the country, working closely with the National Bee Unit and their nationwide network of bee inspectors.
A local control centre will be opened tomorrow near Tetbury and bee inspectors from around England will be closely monitoring a three mile radius around the initial sighting.
They will be supported by nest disposal experts who will use an approved pesticide to destroy any hornets and remove any nests.
The hornet found in Tetbury is currently undergoing DNA testing at the National Bee Unit in North Yorkshire to help establish how it arrived in the UK.
The hornet arrived in France in 2004 and is now common across large areas of Europe. It was discovered for the first time in Jersey and Alderney this summer. It is believed the species will not be able survive in the north of the UK due to colder winters.
See www.nationalbeeunit.com for updates.
Further guidance on the Asian hornet can be found on the Asian hornet pages of Beebase where you will find a very useful
Asian hornet poster which are available for identification purposes.
You can also find very useful instructions for how to make a trap: Monitoring Trap. Experience in France suggests 70% reduction from using these.
The BBC did a short video showing what the traps look like: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-devon-37867215
Any suspected Asian hornet sightings should be reported to firstname.lastname@example.org . When emailing, please include your name, the location of the sighting and if possible, a photograph of the hornet. Please do not put yourself in any danger of getting stung when trying to take a photo.