There has been video coverage in BBC Online on the threat posed by Asian hornet invasions to the UK mainland. The piece notes that the species has been spreading across Europe over the last two decade with recent sightings in the Channel Islands.
Asian hornets are smaller than our native hornet and pose no greater risk to human health than a bee. However, they do pose a risk to honey bees and pollinating insects. There have been no confirmed sightings in England since 1 October 2019.
If a sighting is confirmed, experts from the National Bee Unit (NBU) and the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) will work quickly to find and destroy any active nests in the area. Since 2016, there have been a total of 17 confirmed sightings of the Asian hornet in England and nine nests have been destroyed.
A Defra spokesperson 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.
While the Asian hornet poses no greater risk to human health than a bee, 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.
There is a rolling information page on Gov.uk which is updated with all the latest information on sightings and nest eradication in the UK.
- If you suspect you have seen an Asian hornet you should report this using the iPhone and Android app ‘Asian Hornet Watch’ or the online form here. Alternatively, you can send an email to this address. Identification guides and more information are available here.
- If you keep bees, you can find helpful advice and video guides on spotting Asian hornets and minimising the risk to your apiary on our GOV.UK advice page here.
- For a correct photograph of the Asian hornet and details of how to identify this insect visit Defra’s Flickr here.