Asian Hornets in the UK: What You Need to Know

Asian Hornets in the UK: What You Need to Know

Can You Treat Asian Hornets?

The short answer is NO; any Pest Control Company Cannot treat it. We do not directly treat Asian hornets. Instead, we recommend reporting any sightings to the British Beekeepers Association or other relevant authorities. Early detection and reporting are crucial to managing and controlling the spread of these invasive pests.

You can find our guide on how to identify other wasp/hornet species here


Asian Hornets

Asian hornets (Vespa velutina) seriously threaten the UK’s wildlife and biodiversity. Since their accidental introduction to Europe in 2004, these invasive pests have spread rapidly and are now present in various locations across the UK. Recognising and reporting sightings of Asian hornets is crucial to protect local ecosystems, particularly bee populations.

Identifying Asian Hornets

Asian hornets are different from native European hornets and wasps. Here’s how to spot them:

  • Body: Asian hornets have a dark thorax and a primarily dark abdomen with an orange or yellow fourth segment. On the other hand, European hornets have thick yellow bands across their abdomens and a reddish-brown thorax.
  • Legs: A distinguishing feature of Asian hornets is their bright yellow leg tips, unlike the brown legs of European hornets.
  • Size: Asian hornets are generally smaller than European hornets. Workers measure between 20-24mm, while queens can reach up to 30mm. European hornet workers measure around 25mm, with queens often reaching 35mm.

The Threat to Wildlife and Biodiversity

Asian hornets are aggressive predators of bees and other insect pollinators. They severely threaten honeybees and solitary bee species, essential for pollination and maintaining healthy ecosystems. A single Asian hornet can consume up to 50 bees a day, causing significant damage to local bee populations and biodiversity.

Recent Sightings and Monitoring Efforts

In 2023, the National Bee Unit destroyed 72 nests in 56 locations across the UK, with most sightings in Kent. Early detection and trapping are crucial for eradication efforts. Local beekeepers and verifiers remain vigilant and actively monitor for these invasive pests in areas with confirmed sightings.

Importance of Early Detection

Detecting an Asian hornet’s nest early in the year is vital. As summer progresses, hornets become more aggressive. Early detection helps reduce the risk of stings and prevents the nest from becoming a bigger problem. Continuous monitoring and reporting are essential for managing the spread of Asian hornets.

How You Can Help

Report Sightings: If you have spotted an Asian hornet, report your sighting to the relevant authorities immediately. Use the Asian Hornet Watch app or the UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology’s online reporting form to submit sightings with photographs.

Be Vigilant: Stay informed about the presence of Asian hornets in your area. If you are a beekeeper, watch for unusual hornet activity around your hives, especially during midday when they are most active.

Spread Awareness: Inform your local community about the threat of Asian hornets. Share information on how to identify and report sightings. Awareness posters and leaflets can be particularly effective in keeping the public informed.

Updates from the Field

Experience from regions like Guernsey has shown the importance of vigilant monitoring and reporting. For instance, by the end of May 2023, Jersey had already caught 252 Asian hornet queens, demonstrating the effectiveness of their spring trapping programme.

You can check the updated list of sightings on the UK Goverment website here , this is recorded since 2016

Conclusion

The fight against the spread of Asian hornets in the UK requires collective vigilance and prompt reporting. While professional pest control services like ours at Recon Pest Control cannot treat Asian hornets directly, we urge everyone to report sightings to the British Beekeepers Association and other relevant authorities. Your proactive steps can help protect our native biodiversity and ensure the safety of our essential pollinators.

For more information on identifying and reporting Asian hornets, visit the Asian Hornet Alert page at The GB Non-native Species (RISC). Stay vigilant and help us keep our ecosystems safe.

Use the Online form Here

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Frequently Asked Questions

Have a Question?

We are here to help you 7 days a week and respond within 24 hours. Plus, you can find most answers to your questions right on this page.

Common signs of a pest infestation include the presence of droppings, gnawed or damaged materials, unusual odors, and sightings of pests like insects or rodents. If you notice any of these signs, it’s important to seek professional pest control assistance.

Yes, there are eco-friendly and non-toxic pest control methods. Integrated Pest Management (IPM) strategies prioritize non-chemical approaches, such as sealing entry points, proper sanitation, and using natural predators. Additionally, some pest control companies offer environmentally friendly treatments.

The frequency of preventive pest control services depends on factors like your location, the type of pests common in your area, and the condition of your home. Generally, quarterly or annual inspections are common, but it’s best to consult with a pest control professional for a tailored schedule.

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