One of the most active Asian hornet tracking beekeepers in Jersey is warning the South West to be vigilant if it is to avoid being overrun by the highly destructive insect.
Bob Hogge, a former President of the Jersey Beekeepers’ Association, will be sharing his experience with Taunton Beekeepers on Thursday, March 28.
“You can’t avoid them coming,” he said. “The area of this country is too great to be able to spot every single nest and destroy it. But what you can do is get everyone aware of what this hornet looks like and report it, ideally with a photo when they find it.”
Asian hornets look like large black wasps with yellow legs and an orange face. Any sightings should be reported immediately to the Non-Native Species Secretariat (NNSS): firstname.lastname@example.org
Somerset Beekeepers’ Association has set up an Asian hornet action team to help the public and beekeepers respond to sightings and to support the National Bee Unit to find nests. Team members include beekeepers that spent part of last summer in Jersey with Bob tracking hornets.
“I was very impressed with everyone who came over. They saved our bacon, they really did. We were starting to be overrun and the day before they arrived three reports came in of hornets and then UK beekeepers arrived and joined us.”
Lynne Ingram, Somerset Asian Hornet Action Team Coordinator, added: “I was really fortunate to be able to go to Jersey to help with the fight against Asian Hornets last summer, and learnt a huge amount. Now we have to be prepared ourselves, and have set up our own team of hornet hunters in Somerset. Team members will help members of the public with the identification and reporting of Asian hornets, and with raising public awareness.”
“Asian hornets are a major threat to biodiversity, honey industry and food production of Britain, as they prey on bees and other insects. A nest can house up to 6,000 hornets and 350 queens – each capable of establishing its own colony – and a single insect can kill 50 pollinators in one day.”
Jersey was the first British island to be populated by the Asian hornet: the first non-native insect was spotted in 2016 and last year more than 50 nests were destroyed. Last month an over-wintering queen, which can found a huge nest, was spotted and there are fears that more nests will be discovered this year.
Last year two Asian hornet nests were destroyed in Fowey, Cornwall, and a further two in Hampshire.
To find out more about Asian hornets visit Somerset Beekeepers’ website: https://www.somersetbeekeepers.org.uk/
Photo: Bob Hogge with Asian hornet nests discovered on Jersey.
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.
Photos of Asian hornets (and beekeeping) are available to download from: