2024 Asian Hornet Conference 

The BBKA’s held its 2024 Asian Hornet Conference on Saturday 17th February. Beekeepers from around the country logged in on Zoom to attend. They heard presentations from Nigel Semmence, who provided the latest information from the National Bee Unit on AH and measures being taken. There was a report from Alastair Christie on the AH experience in Jersey and what BBKA could learn from it; and a fascinating update from beekeeper, Jackie Aucott, on the recent experiences and monitoring practices “at the sharp end” in Kent. 

Martin Smith, eR2 Project Manager, described the process of communication 

between AH Coordinators and Verifiers and outlined changes to the way the postholders will be presented within our membership database (ER2) and AH Map (see item below). And Kirsteen Thorn, BBKA’s newly- appointed Outreach Officer, introduced herself and talked about the way she was going to go about her new role. 

Kirsteen Thorn 

Among the key items to take away from the event were: 

  • There is no clear scientific evidence for an established UK population. 
  • The Government have agreed that we are still in the eradication stage of dealing with any incursion. 
  • The day before the meeting, 3 sites (ESE Kent, SW Kent and Yarn in Yorkshire) were agreed to have thorough spring monitoring implemented up to 5km, as agreed to be highest risk sites for any overwintering queens 
  • The public facing maps on BBKA Website are being updated to display the contact details of AH Coordinators only (see item below). It is hoped this encourages more members to agree to be Verifiers as they should no longer be required to field calls directly from the public. 
  • Analysis of DNA and “relatedness” of 2023 nests should be available at the BBKA Spring Convention. 

“We are encouraged that there is no evidence of a UK established population of Asian hornets, says Surrey County AH Co-ordinator, Helen Worwood. “That does not however mean we can fully relax. There is plenty to do to ensure we are as well prepared as we can be for being called to act.” 

“We are aware that members with bees in the South-East of our county feel more vulnerable to incursions from Kent, and those with borders to the North feel vulnerable to any drifting down from M2 corridor area. Therefore, we are supporting Croydon BKA in their “spring trapping light” approach.” 

Please Note: 

If you were unable to attend the live presentation, you can watch the recording by clicking here. The meeting was in 45 – 60-minute sections so you don’t have to watch it all at once! 

BBKA Updates AH Co-ordinators and Verifiers roles 

The BBKA have recently made some changes to the way in which Asian Hornet Co-ordinators and Verifiers are recorded within our membership database (ER2) and AH Map. 

A dramatic rise the number of verifiers (as a result of the significant increase in AH sightings in 2023) led to a cluttered AH Map. This confusing picture, coupled with issues relating to data protection, meant the old methods were no longer fit for purpose. 

Going forward, only Co-ordinators will appear on the public facing AH Map. They will be represented by a blue pin. The details of Verifiers will no longer be visible to the public. The BBKA has also clarified the roles of coordinator and verifier. 

An AH Co-ordinator’s role is to: 

  • Act as a public point of contact in the local area when a reported sighting of AH is made. 
  • Pass the reported sighting onto one of their team of local verifiers. 
  • Be the local point of contact between government agencies and local verifiers in the case of a confirmed sighting; and to 
  • Report back the results of their investigations. 

Having expressed an interest in assisting locally in the investigation of reported sightings of an AH, Verifiers are required to: 

  • Be prepared to provide such assistance in trapping or monitoring as the local AH Co-ordinator may deem necessary. 
  • Provide any assistance that the NBU may request. Such requests will be arranged through the local AH Coordinator. 

Verifiers no longer need to take the BBKA’s Asian Hornet Training Exercise to gain the insurance cover (as this is now automatically in place for Registered, Partner or Honorary members (but not ‘local’ members). 

AH Update to Standard Insurance 

The BBKA has amended its Standard Insurance to ensure that members are covered for work they might do as part of an Asian Hornet Team. As with the insurance generally, this 11 

covers officers and members who are Registered, Partner or Honorary members. It does not cover “local only” members. 

Beekeepers should only be involved in tracking activities directed by the NBU and will not be insured if they are practically involved in Asian Hornet nest destruction, this will be undertaken by specialist Pest Controllers appointed by the NBU. Beekeepers involved in tracking hornets or searching for hornet nests in order to protect their bees are NOT insured if: 

  • Climbing ladders, trees or scaling buildings above the height specified in their BBKA policy concerning swarm collection. 
  • Trespassing or entering areas without the landowner’s permission. 
  • Involved in trapping and releasing Asian Hornets (as this is an illegal activity). 

Members of the public have NO insurance through the BBKA unless participating in beekeeping activities with BBKA members. 

  1. County Updates 

Surrey AHAT Budget Request 

The Surrey Asian Hornet Action Team has submitted a funding proposal to the Committee of the Surrey Beekeepers Association. The AHAT proposal outlines the issues and current position and requests monies be set aside for its planned activities in 2024 to eradicate and prevent the establishment of the Asian Hornet across Surrey. 

The activities fall within two major workstreams: 

  • Communications and Awareness raising in the general public 
  • Monitoring for presence of Asian Hornet. 

Depending on how 2024 unfolds, the budget proposal notes that the funds requested may not all be required or used this year but represents the team’s best guestimate of what is needed to raise public awareness and to establish a basic defence strategy to protect the County. 

A request for a special meeting of the SBKA Committee has been made and it is hoped to make an announcement of any decisions shortly. 

Calling for Co-ordinators and Verifiers 

It is vital that all beekeepers are able to identify Asian Hornets. The BBKA has asked every Association to assemble a team of members acting as Co-ordinators and Verifiers to help with local requests for help in identifying Asian Hornets. It is vital that each BKA team establishes good networking so that the nearest team member can answer a call about a potential siting and call for back up if necessary. 

“We welcome the new clarity in roles between Co-ordinators and Verifiers and the developments behind the scenes ensuring the public have someone to reach out to if they do see a suspicious looking insect,” Surrey County Co-ordinator, Helen Worwood says. 12 

“We would like to get to a position of having 3 co-ordinators per division. Some divisions are there already – but some have a way to go. Please read the role outline and get in touch with your divisional Co-ordinator if you are interested and would like a non-committal chat before volunteering.” 

Surrey’s AHAT Co-ordinators 



  • Helen Worwood (Epsom) 


  • Croydon = Anna Slade 
  • Epsom = John Futcher 
  • Farnham = Julie Trice 
  • Guildford = Jonathan Brookhouse 
  • Kingston = Avis Marshall 
  • Reigate = Keith Mackie 
  • Weybridge = Andrew Halstead 
  • Wimbledon = Gareth Morgan 

You can contact the above by clicking on the blue pins on the BBKA’s Online AHAT Map


At the BBKA’s Asian Hornet Conference Jackie Aucott, AH Co-ordinator for Dover & District BKA outlined the way in which the AHAT teams in the area have set up a simple but effective AH monitoring process covering a 300km2 from Hythe to Deal. (Click here to see her presentation), 

The team has worked with both beekeepers and non-beekeeping members from a number of Associations in neighbouring areas 

The approach divides the monitoring area into 1km2 packets using simple techniques based on the Ordinance Survey App, taped-up OS Maps, a Sellotape ring – and a roaming volunteer who single handedly set and monitored more than 50 traps across the region to fill the gaps! 13 

There were 52 AH nests cleared in Kent – 35 in the DDBKA area alone – including 10 nest which probably would have been missed if the approach had not been taken. 

Surrey AHATS who have watched the presentation have recognised the value of the approach to monitoring outlined by Jackie. 

“We realised in our monitoring exercise last year how much overlap there was in our divisional membership areas,” says Helen Worwood. “A small working party are going to gather with some maps and membership lists to see if we can prepare a 1km2 grid plan for monitoring. So that we are ready for any alert that comes in across Surrey this summer.” 

Any Cartophiles out there? Helen would love to hear from you to join this working party. Email her at: helenworwood@ntlworld.com 

  1. Local Update – Epsom 

Epsom Members attending February’s Club Meeting were treated to a discussion led by John Futcher, Epsom AH Co-ordinator, on the Asian Hornet and the latest updates on the work being done to monitor and contain its spread. 

John also took Members in a walk-through of the BBKA’s Asian Hornet Training Exercise. (The training exercise is publicly available as an education and public awareness tool – so members were encouraged to spread the word to family and friends.) 

John is calling out to both beekeeping and non-beekeeping members to contact him if they are interested in becoming Epsom Verifiers assisting him locally in the investigation of reported sightings of an Asian Hornet. Email him at: john.futcher@btopenworld.com