Some of you will have no doubt seen the recent news that Asian Hornet (a.k.a Yellow-legged hornet) Vespa Velutina, has been confirmed on the UK mainland for the first time with the discovery of workers in Gloucestershire on 20th September (shown on right in image above in comparison with our native European hornet Vespa Crabro on left). This species first arrived in France in 2004 from where it has spread rapidly across Europe. It is vital that this species does not become established in the UK and a rapid response is currently in place to locate and destroy nests around the initial incursion site. In the interim APHA (Animal & Plant Health Agency) are asking everyone to keep vigilant for any further outbreaks.
Please can I ask that we all keep an eye out for this species and report any sightings (including photos) immediately either via email: firstname.lastname@example.org or through the online reporting form: http://www.brc.ac.uk/risc/alert.php?species=asian_hornet. Downloadable information including ID and alert posters are available via the links provided including how to separate from the native European hornet.
You can read more about the arrival of Asian Hornet on the RSPB’s blog including the many benefits that our native bees and wasps bring to our natural ecosystems and why we shouldn’t demonise a species for our own wrongdoings.