People living in Kent have been warned to keep a look out after an Asian Hornet was spotted in the county.
One Asian hornet can eat 50 honey bees a day, so there is concern that a colony of Asian hornets could destroy the honey be population. Asian Hornets are distinctive by their yellow socks, deep orange head and a black thorax.
The main difference between European Hornets and Asian Hornets is that the Asian variety is slightly smaller, has characteristic yellow legs, a dark velvety thorax and a dark abdomen with a distinctive yellow band on the fourth segment. Asian Hornets are never active at night whereas European Hornets may be.
Residents are being asked that if you spot one please report to DEFRA or via the Asian hornet App. You should take a photo of it and note the exact location, so it can be tracked to its nest and destroyed.
This time of the year, the Queen Hornet starts off with a small nest often around a house, shed or outbuildings. When numbers reach critical mass, the colony heads off to build a larger nest, often in the high canopy of a tree. It’s useful to spot these starter nests and destroy early.
Asian hornets were inadvertently brought to France in 2004, most likely in a shipment of goods imported from East Asia. Since arriving in France, the species has spread rapidly. It is now present across France and is moving into adjoining countries.
In France, it has consumed large numbers of bees, including the well-known European honey bee and many lesser-known solitary and colonial bee species. Nature conservation organisations, are concerned about the impacts of Asian hornets on bees, as these pollinating species are an essential component of well-functioning ecosystems.
The Asian hornet is undoubtedly an invasive non-native species in France, and the evidence indicates it would be invasive in the UK too. It has been recorded in the UK on at least three occasions. However, the relevant authorities swiftly eradicated these individuals.