BeeBase reports a beekeeper in the Ascot area of Berkshire filmed insects buzzing around a hive where an Asian hornet (Vespa velutina) was lying lifeless.
In a press release issued by the National Bee Unit:
The National Bee Unit has confirmed the sighting and monitoring is underway to detect any other Asian hornets in the vicinity.
The Asian hornet is smaller than our native hornet and poses no greater risk to human health than our native wasps and hornets. However, they do pose a risk to honey bees and work is already underway to monitor for any hornet activity and to identify any nests nearby.
This is the first confirmed UK sighting since September 2020, when one Asian hornet nest was identified and destroyed near Gosport, Hampshire.
Defra’s Chief Plant and Bee Health Officer Nicola Spence 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 area following this confirmed sighting.W
While the Asian hornet poses no greater risk to human health than other wasps or hornets, we recognise the damage they can cause to honey bee colonies and other beneficial insects.
Please continue to look out for any Asian hornets and if you think you’ve spotted one, report your sighting through the Asian hornet app or online.
It is important to take care not to approach or disturb a nest. Asian hornets are not generally aggressive towards people but an exception to this is when they perceive a threat to their nest.
If you suspect you have seen an Asian hornet you should report this using the iPhone and Android app ‘Asian Hornet Watch’ or by using our online report form. Alternatively, e-mail email@example.com.
Please include a photograph if you can safely obtain one.
Identification guides and more information are available and if you keep bees you should keep up to date with the latest situation on the gov.uk sightings page and on BeeBase.
- The cost of eradication on private land will be met by APHA
- The Great Britain Non-native Species Secretariat is a joint venture between Defra, the Scottish Government and the Welsh Government to tackle the threat of invasive species. More information can be found on their website
- For details on the appearance of an Asian hornet, please refer to the BeeBase guide or the non-native species identification guide
- Photographs of the Asian hornet are available on our Flickr account
- The Asian hornet (Vespa velutina) is not to be confused with the Asian giant hornet (Vespa mandarinia) which has been found in North America fewer than 10 times as of August 2020.