Join the Chalfonts Beekeepers’ Asian Hornet Action Team (AHAT)
The British Beekeepers’ Association (BBKA) is calling on the public to help fight a major threat to honey bees and other pollinators - Asian hornets.
Numbers of the destructive insect are rising rapidly this summer and more have been detected in the UK this year than in the previous six years combined.
BBKA Chair, Diane Drinkwater, said: “This is an exceptional year for Asian hornets with record numbers of queens and nests. We urge the public to join forces with beekeepers to protect our honey bees and other pollinators from this voracious predator.”
More than 1,000 beekeepers across the country are part of elite teams trained to provide emergency support to the National Bee Unit’s (NBU) hornet hunters. Join the Chalfonts Beekeepers’ Asian Hornet Action Team (AHAT) if you want to help us now – more details below.
Hornet sightings are filtered by the NBU, part of Defra, and teams of bee inspectors are deployed to track hornets back to their nests which are then destroyed.
But the help of the eagle-eyed public is essential to spot the hornets which may be devouring insects or feeding on fallen fruit or ivy flowers.
Just one Asian hornet can hunt down and eat 300 honey bees a day and their habit of hawking (hovering) outside the hive stops the bees from collecting nectar and pollen to feed themselves.
Diane added: “Asian hornets are wreaking havoc in Europe and we fear if they get a foot-hold in the UK our honey bees and many other insects will be decimated here, too. They are the greatest threat to beekeeping since the Varroa mite was discovered more than 30 years ago.”
It is important to take care not to approach or disturb a nest. Asian hornets are not generally aggressive towards people but an exception to this is when they perceive a threat to their nest. Care must be taken when hedge trimming or blackberry collecting as nests have been found in hedgerows and especially in brambles.
People who suspect they have seen an Asian hornet should report it immediately using the phone app ‘Asian Hornet Watch’ or the online reporting form: https://risc.brc.ac.uk/alert.php?species=asian_hornet
Three Easy Steps to identify an Asian Hornet:
1. Does it look very black?
2. Has it got a wide orange stripe on 4th segment of abdomen?
3. Do its legs look as if they have been dipped in yellow paint?
Use this link for more information on how to Identify an Asian Hornet