Somerset beekeepers ask the public to take part in Asian hornet week – September 6-10, 2021
Somerset beekeepers are calling on the public to protect honey bees and other pollinators during Asian hornet week which runs from September 6-10.
Lynne Ingram, co-ordinator of Somerset’s Asian hornet action teams, said if these Asian yellow-legged Asian hornets get a hold in the county they could decimate native insects.
“Research suggests that the South West is an area where Asian hornets are likely to occur,” said Lynne. “Even though there were no sightings here last year, possibly because of lockdown, we still need to be vigilant.”
Asian hornets are widespread in France and other European countries and have been accidentally brought into the UK in vehicles.
In the coming weeks beekeepers will be checking their apiaries and monitoring traps for Asian hornets.
The county’s Asian hornet action teams are standing by to respond to sightings in the first instance and to support the National Bee Unit’s team of inspectors who track down and destroy nests.
The awareness week is backed by TV presenter and British Beekeepers Association patron Jimmy Doherty: “Asian hornets really do pose a threat to our native pollinator insects and if you were to come across a nest it could cause you a bit of a danger, too.
“This time of year, as the leaves begin to drop, their nests are easier to spot. If you’re unsure what to look for there is an app to download for your smartphone called Asian Hornet Watch. Take a picture of whatever you spot and send it to us via the app.”
Asian hornets are about twice the size of a honeybee, have an orange face and a dark abdomen with an orangey- yellow fourth segment. Its thorax is entirely dark brown or black and velvety, and the insect has bright yellow tips to its legs.
Take a photo of any sightings and report immediately to firstname.lastname@example.org or use the Asian hornet watch app. For advice, help with identifying a hornet or getting a photo, contact email@example.com. Photos, posters and even a colouring sheet to help identify the Asian hornet can be found on the Somerset Beekeepers’ website: https://www.somersetbeekeepers.org.uk/resources.html
Asian hornet hawking a hive. Photo credit: Crown copyright.
For further information contact:
Lynne Ingram, Somerset’s Asian hornet action group co-ordinator on firstname.lastname@example.org
Notes to editors:
Somerset Beekeepers’ Association is a Registered Charity run by volunteers and works to advance the craft of apiculture within its membership and to promote general awareness and understanding of honeybees.
Asian hornets (Vespa velutina nigrithorax) are slightly smaller than native European hornets and look like large black wasps with orange face and yellow legs:
Asian hornets are active mainly between April and November (peak August/September) and are inactive over the winter.
A single Asian hornet can kill 60 honey bees a day, with a nest containing up to 6,000 workers and up to 350 queens.
Asian hornets are a notifiable invasive species and should be reported immediately with photo using: