Asian Hornets found in England

Message from Margaret Murdin, Chair, BBKA

Hello, as you will all know by now the Asian hornet has been found in Gloucester. I have just spoken with the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) and they are anxious that we work together and they have asked me to send out this identification sheet and press release.

The hornet was found by a beekeeper and other beekeepers in the immediate area have found hornets hawking in front of their hives. There is a 20 Km incident zone around the hive and the National Bee Unit ( NBU) are currently looking for the hive. If they find it they will destroy it. Fortunately the NBU have been expecting it for some time and had a contingency plan ready to go.

They have caught several hornets and looked at their genetics and these hornets are related to those in France and Alderney. So they have not come in from China. This is important because they are obviously breeding from quite a small genetic pool and have been weakened from inbreeding. And we have to ask ourselves if they flew directly from France to Gloucester. Unlikely I think. So maybe they are in other parts of the country. We don’t know.

So far every hornet found has been found by a beekeeper.

As you may know, if the hornets gain access to a colony they will bring the rest of their nest mates and the colony will be destroyed very quickly. Our European bees have no natural defences.
The NBU are currently examining every hive in the incident zone. But the problem is they cannot be sure they know the whereabouts of every beekeeper and every hive.
So please:

  • If you are not already registered on BeeBase, register now
  • If you are already registered update your entry to ensure all your apiaries are included

Also please look through any wasp traps you have up to see if there are any hornets in there. And you might want to put some traps up, the same as for wasps.

The Asian hornet is a very serious pest of honey bees. Please look at the identification sheet (link below) and make sure every one else ( not just beekeepers) are aware of what it looks like….remember yellow legs. If you see an Asian hornet please do not try to find the nest.

Contact the non native species people at giving details

Thanks, Margaret Murdin
Chair BBKA

BeeBase for registration:

Alert poster for Asian hornet is at the following link:
Suspect sightings should be made to
Please see the attached press release on the confirmed sighting of Asian hornet in the Tetbury area of Gloucestershire.

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