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The Asian Hornet, Vespa velutina, is a native species of Asia which was inadvertently introduced to South France in 2004.  It has spread rapidly since then and is now widespread in France, Germany and the Iberian peninsula.  It has reached the Channel Islands, where a campaign to find and destroy its nests is currently being waged.  There have been 14 sightings in the UK since 2016, including 9 in 2018 of which 2 were in Hampshire.  The first sighting in 2019 was on 3rd July in New Milton, Hampshire.

Asian Hornet is a voracious predator of other insects, feeding on the protein in their thorax, and is a danger to our native insects in general, and to honey bees in particular.  Colonies of honey bees represent a particularly attractive food source to Asian Hornet, and can be rapidly destroyed by this predation.

We ask that members of the public, as well as beekeepers, learn to recognise the Asian Hornet, and keep a look out for it. The picture below will help you with identification, and there's further information here.  The Asian Hornet Watch app for iOS or Android makes identification and reporting sightings easy.  Alternatively you can use an online report form or you can email alertnonnative@ceh.ac.uk (please include a photograph).

Felton Kelly is our Association Asian Hornet Action Team coordinator, and can be contacted by e-mail or by telephone on 01980 610113 / 07833914826.

 

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