Bees and the Asian Hornet threat
I have joined this forum with a cause in mind. I keep bees and live in Torbay where I am on the committee of Torbay Bee keepers Association. I am also working with a Devon group of bee keepers who are forming teams of like minded apiarists who are going to be the first line of defense in Devon against the invasion of Asian Hornet that could come to the UK any time next year
I guess there are a great many bee keepers that read threads on this forum but has the topic of Asian Hornet been raised? I ask because although bee keepers will know of the danger we face, there is a real threat to our honey bees and other pollinators if the Asian Hornet (AH) gets established in the UK. It could wipe out honey bees and then you would get no more of that lovely sticky sweet stuff to have on your cakes and breakfast. Crops, especially fruit of all kinds could fail because of lack of pollination, and its not a nice beast to be stung by.
It is thought that the last outbreak in the summer of 2017 in Woolacombe, Devon, could have been from a queen hornet brought into the UK from France or Spain in a camping unit Like a Caravan, motorhome or trailer tent.
I am a motorhome owner and last January we went for a two month trip to the Algarve. On our journey down through France we saw two or three Asian Hornet (Vespa velutina V.v) nests high in trees. We knew what they were but since it was winter we knew they were effectively dead because the colony dies out when the new queens fly off to find hibernation quarters. But we never dreamed that we could provide a lift to such an unwanted and devastating pest.
But these types of vehicle are not the only possible vectors which could bring this insect to the UK and it is thought they could come to this country in consignments of goods brought to this country on lorries and vans.
Asian Hornets devastate honey bee colonies by hawking round the entrance of the hive and taking bees on the wing. They bite the head and abdomen off and fly away to their nest with the thorax where they feed the larvae with the protein from the muscles that control the bee's wings and legs But honey bees are not the only prey. Bumble bees and many other insect species which gardeners value for their pollinating and control behavior are also attacked. Many of our hover flies, which do great good in the garden are at risk.
We want to raise awareness of the problem through contacts with peoplein all sorts of sphere and gardeners are just one such group. We would like you to look out for the insect and act appropriately if you see one. You need to look out for a big brownish wasp like insect flyng around in your garden and if, like Monty, you keep a hive so that you have pollinators for your fruit and veg, you should keep a special watch for the hornet hawking your bees and taking them out of the air as the season progresses.
If you do spot anything that could possibly be an Asian Hornet there are a number of things you can do if you are willing. You could try taking photos or video of the hawking baviour if they ere around your hive or you could attempt to catch one with a child's fishing net (they fly relatively slowly and are quite easy to net) transfer it to a jar, and put a lid on it. Be careful as their sting is powerful. You can kill the specimen byut crushing it in the net but keep the remains. If you have one in a jar put it in the freezer to humanely dispatch it. Once you have specimen send it to the correct authority
There is an app for mobiles which shows what you are looking for and enables you to report an occurr
Last edited: 01 December 2017 17:02:05