Spring is here and so is likelihood of the Vespa velutina, sometimes known as the ‘Asian hornet’ entering the UK via shipping road, sea and air.
As a highly effective predator of insects, including honey bees and other beneficial species, it can cause significant losses to bee colonies, other native species and potentially ecosystems. Not yet present in GB, but it is considered highly likely to arrive soon. The places it is most likely to be found are in southern parts of England (it may be able to cross the channel from France) or goods among which it could be accidentally imported (such as soil with imported pot plants, cut flowers, fruit and timber). Active months are between April and November (peak August/September). Inactive over the winter, the most likely time to see this species will be early next year. It has also altered the biodiversity in regions where it is present and is potentially deadly to people who are allergic.
All beekeepers should remain vigilant and be on the look out for it in their apiaries.
However you can be pro-active by making Asian hornet traps or (purchase them). Spring trapping is the best form of effective early detection of the hornet; this is paramount to prevent establishment. Further information including instructions for making traps can be found on the National bee unit website.
For further information on the Asian hornet download vespa-velutina-asian-hornet_Alert BBKA