At the time of writing (16th July), there have been no sightings of Asian hornet in Britain this year. If there are any Asian hornet nests in our area, it is in August – October when they will be most evident. The nests will be coming to peak strength and worker hornets will be searching for food around bee hives. When you are near your hives, spend some time looking for the hornets, which are 25-30mm long and mostly black with an orange band near the rear end of the abdomen. They are likely to be flying around the front of the hive and snatching worker bees as they emerge or return to their hive. If you see an Asian hornet, try and get a photograph or capture a specimen so the identification can be confirmed. If in doubt, contact Andrew Halstead (01483 489581; email@example.com).
If you are certain it is an Asian hornet, contact https://www.brc.ac.uk/risc/alert.php?species=asian_hornet or use the Asian Hornet Watch app on smart phones.
Last year the Weybridge division put up ”Not wanted” posters on public noticeboards and in supermarkets, garden centres, etc. A digital copy is attached; paper copies (A4 and A5 size) are available from Jessica Kazimierczak (firstname.lastname@example.org). If you can help spread the digital poster within the Weybridge division area (not nationally!) or you can put paper posters on noticeboards, please do so. The aim is to alert the non-beekeeping public to the Asian hornet problem and provide local contacts who can sift out false reports. The government agencies that deal with Asian hornet receive thousands of reports each summer, most of which are for insects that are not the target species.
BBKA has arranged insurance cover for up to 15 named persons in our division who are part of our Asian Hornet Action Team. This provides third party public liability cover in the event of a claim being made while AHAT persons are investigating a report of an Asian hornet sighting. We have not yet filled our quota of 15 persons, so if anyone wants to join the Weybridge AHAT team, please contact me for further details. A simple online test has to be taken before you can be registered with BBKA for the insurance cover.
Do take Andrew’s appeal very seriously. We must be grateful to have gone through another season so far without the hornet. This is almost certainly the fruit of much work in making them known, finding and destroying their nests successfully in the last year or two.
Marion Cooper August 2020