Asian Hornets

Posted on 5th April 2024

As you may already be aware, numbers of Asian hornets increased dramatically last year – more nests were discovered than in the previous six years combined, the vast majority of these in Kent and surrounding counties, but in other locations across the country too, and even as far north as Scotland. These invasive predators have made their way here from northern Europe, where they have had a significant impact on native wildlife and everyday life for communities.

The first Asian hornet sighting of 2024 has recently been confirmed, near Canterbury, Kent – with other suspected sightings already having taken place.  This is earlier in the season than in previous years, raising fears that the insect may soon become established here.

This could have a profound impact on the outdoor sport and leisure industry, as Asian hornets can be aggressively defensive of their nests if disturbed – primary nests are often built low to the ground, in hedgerows, brambles and other places that could easily go undetected (even underground in some cases), with secondary nests often concealed high up in trees.

It is vital that those taking part in outdoor leisure activities – particularly those involving animals – are aware of the potential for nests to be in their vicinity, regularly check their surroundings, and familiarise themselves with how to identify and report any suspected sightings of Yellow-Legged Asian hornets.

Asian hornets are not only a public health risk, and a risk to pets and livestock, but also pose a significant threat to our native wildlife. One hornet can eat as many as 50 honeybees a day, and their impact if allowed to become established here could cause destruction of our native ecosystem on a massive scale – potentially leading to what some environmental experts are calling an ‘ecological disaster’.

We are encouraging as many people as possible to download the official Asian hornet watch app (available via the app store for Android and iPhone) so that suspected sightings can be logged.  Experts from the Government’s National Bee Unit will then be notified, and nearby nests traced and safely destroyed.

For more information look here

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