Asian hornet alert as insects spotted in UK

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The Asian hornet, a bee threat, has been spotted in the UK for the first time in five months.

Beekeepers and the public are being asked to remain vigilant after a large wasp has been identified as a threat to bees in the Rayleigh area of ​​Essex.

The government says the National Bee Unit has confirmed the sighting, and monitoring is underway to detect more Asian hornets nearby.

This is the first time it has been seen since April, when an Asian hornet was caught in Felixstow, Suffolk.

The non-native Asian or yellow-footed hornet is an invasive species in Britain that feeds on bees.

“Hornets catch bees by sitting outside on hives and grabbing workers as they move in and out,” says Gavin Broad, an expert at the Natural History Museum.

“They cut them up and breastfeed their babies.”

Asian hornets were introduced to France by accident in 2004, probably in a shipment of goods from East Asia. According to the RSPB, it has consumed a large number of bees in France, including the European honeybee and lesser known solitary and colonial bee species.

Since then, the species has spread rapidly and is now in surrounding countries.

England alone saw nine in 2018 and five in 2019.

Asian hornets have eaten a large number of bees in France

UK government officials are appealing to people to keep an eye.

Asian Hornet (Vespa Velutina) is mostly black with a yellow or orange band on the top of the abdomen, yellow legs and an orange face. It is slightly smaller than the native European hornet but larger than a wasp.

Nicola Spence, chief plant and bee health officer at the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), said: “By making sure we are alert to potential sightings as soon as possible, we are quicker and faster to stamp this out. Can take effective action.The threat posed by Asian Hornets.

“So we are working swiftly to locate and investigate any nests in the area after this confirmation.

An Abandoned Asian Hornet Nest

“While the Asian hornet poses no greater risk to human health than other wasps or hornets, we recognize the damage they can cause to honeybee colonies and other beneficial insects.

“Please continue to look for any Asian Hornets and if you think you have seen one, report your sightings via the Asian Hornet app or online.”

Experts say that people should take care not to go near or disturb any nest.

“Asian hornets are generally not aggressive towards people, but the exception is when they feel threatened by their nests,” said Defra.

Sightings can be reported with the Asian Hornet Watch app or with the government online report form,

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