Pests news from BPCA

09 July 2019

Asian hornet sighting confirmed in south Hampshire

Last Wednesday the National Bee Unit confirmed a sighting of an individual, female Asian hornet in New Milton, Hampshire, after it was reported by a member of the public. 

 Asian hornet sighted in south hampshire news image

The first confirmed sighting in the UK since October 2018, visual examination shows the hornet is likely to be a queen and monitoring is underway to detect any other Asian hornets in the vicinity.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs is asking local beekeepers to be vigilant, while BPCA Technical Manager, Dee Ward-Thompson, urges our members to do the same.

"BPCA members form the first alert to these threats and are often called in to deal with such pests," says Dee. "Our members are well aware of the threat posed by Asian Hornets and other invasive species, and will do everything they can to maintain the health of our honey bee population."

Nicola Spence, Defra Deputy Director for Plant and Bee Health, 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. That’s why we are working at speed to locate and investigate any nests in the New Milton area following this confirmed sighting."

How to spot an Asian hornet

The Asian hornet is smaller than the European hornet and is a highly aggressive predator of native insects. While it poses no greater risk to human health than a bee, they can cause incredible damage to honey bee colonies and other pollinating insects. 

It is quite easily identified by its yellow-tipped legs and dark abdomen, which sports a yellow band on the fourth segment. 

You can download a full identification guide on the Non-native species website.

Always remain on the lookout for any Asian hornets and if you think you’ve spotted one, report your sighting through the 'Asian Hornet Watch' app or by using the online report form.

Alternatively, you can email alertnonnative@ceh.ac.uk. Please include a photograph.

Source: Gov UK press release

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