Asian Hornets September 2023

This from the BBKA: 

A leaflet called ‘How to Track Yellow-Legged Asian Hornets (Vespa velutina) has been produced by Sarah Bunker for the BBKA. BBKA trustees hope you find this leaflet useful. It can be downloaded from: 

This will work with European hornets, if you want to practice. Asian Hornet Week is 4th – 10th September 2023. We have two live talks during the week (6th and 7th) with Andrew Durham (see top of p. 2) and some pre-recorded talks are available on the BBKA’s YouTube Channel from Monday 4th. Andrew Durham’s talks will also be recorded and made available at a later date. 

We hope you have all downloaded the Asian hornet watch app and are sharing information about identification and reporting of Asian hornets across all your social media including any local Facebook groups. AH team members in Kent have found this productive. Don’t forget you can order Asian hornet leaflets and postcards to be sent to you from the NBU : 

Email your request to but remember to give them your postal address and state how many of each you want. 

Other resources are available on the BBKA website including posters, banners and information sheets for you to download: 

Kind regards 

Diane Drinkwater, BBKA Chair 

Asian hornet – urgent 

The number of Asian hornet nests found so far in England far exceeds those of previous years. So far, none has been reported in Surrey but some have been close to the border. It is vital that beekeepers look for Asian hornets around their hives and in other places, such as on fallen ripe fruits and ivy flowers, that are likely to attract this insect. Prompt discovery and reporting will allow the nest(s) to be found and destroyed before next year’s queens are produced. 

Jonathan Brookhouse (Guildford division) has produced the following Call to Action (see next item), which is being shared with all Surrey divisions. Please read it and take action. 

As the Asian Hornet has now come so close to our area (London SE28) Surrey BKA is considering purchasing bulk supplies of bait and traps to distribute free to its members to ensure we get thorough monitoring of our area. As a result, it would be very useful to know how many of our members would take up the offer. If you would be prepared to take a trap and bait, please send a note to by the 10th September. 

Andrew Halstead and Michael Main, who attended the Surrey Asian Hornet Team meeting. 

Asian Hornet Team Call to Action 

To date, mid-August 2023, the NBU report that there have been 32 nests found in 27 locations here in the UK. 

These nests have been found only because specific credible sightings of hornets were reported to the NBU. 

This is now serious. There have been more confirmed sightings this year than all the previous sightings together since 2016. 

It goes without saying that if so, many have already been found, there must be others that have not yet been seen. 

This aggressive invasive species is a top predator, there is no natural control if it gets a foothold in the UK. 

As you are aware, they have colonised the whole of France, and in the last few years they are moving into Belgium, Spain, Portugal and are beginning to move into Italy. 

The key danger to our bees is twofold, 

Firstly, they are easy prey for Hornets who seek out beehives. Once they have found an apiary, they hawk outside the colonies, picking off returning forager bees one by one. 

If you don’t have traps out already, you can make a simple monitoring one out of a jar with an 8-10mm hole in the lid and a jay cloth or sponge poking through acting as a wick (see photo below).

Fruit juice with extra sugar added can be used as a bait, but commercially prepared bait has extra attractants added to make it extra tasty to Vespa species. 

You can follow the rolling update of the NBU’s Asian Hornet activity on BeeBase here

Report any sightings direct via the Asian Hornet Watch App which you can download for free to your phone. 

Without your help, it won’t happen. 

With thanks, the Asian Hornet Team. 

A simple monitoring station 

A simple monitoring station, described by Gordon Bull, a Seasonal Bee Inspector with the NBU can be seen in the photo below. 

It is reproduced from this link: The link also gives access to more information about Asian Hornets. 

The photo shows two marked Asian Hornets feeding in a monitoring station made simply with a takeaway tray with kitchen towel soaked in a fruit juice bait with extra sugar. Three large pebbles stop the monitoring station blowing away. Because the insects are feeding, they are not aggressive, enabling photos to be taken. If you choose to monitor insects using this type of bait station, keep the lid nearby and if you notice a suspicious insect, you can quickly trap the insect by sealing the lid and look at the insect more closely. Do take care though, as they can sting! 

A new leaflet showing how to create a range of simple monitoring devices is available under ‘factsheets’ on Beebase, the NBU’s official website. (Note that the two hornets in the picture are Asian Hornets as shown by the single yellow/orange band near the rear of its abdomen. – Ed.) 

As mentioned, in Andrew and Michael’s article (p. 3), we are hoping to have both traps and bait available to us soon. This is part of a bulk order that Epsom Division are kindly offering to distribute to other SBKA Divisions. 

Asian Hornet

Hornet hunters: the crack squad keeping an invasive species at bay on Jersey 

‘A retired police detective (John De Carteret) and a band of volunteers are all that’s stopping the Asian hornet, a voracious predator of flying insects, from spreading across the island to mainland Britain’… Read more about this work 

An immense amount of vital work is being carried out by John and his helpers. It is considered that the government should be playing a major role, instead of leaving it all to a dedicated volunteer. 

Thank you, Peter Webb, for this information, which I imagine is new to many. After all, this hornet will have profound effects on our honeybees and our beekeeping when it becomes established in the UK. 

Asian Hornets found in Dover, Ashford (Kent) and Canterbury 

The following item is from Keith Mackie, Surrey BKA Asian Hornet Team Lead (Interim) | Reigate BKA AHT Officer / Coordinator 

Asian Hornet update (July-23) 

Numbers of AH are high in Europe this year, although the following measurements are not all comparable, Belgium had 130+ queens last year, but has had 2500+ this year. Holland had a few reported in previous years, but now over 250+ sites. Portugal no longer reports as they have too many. Jersey had 450+ queens at over 50% in traps placed close to France, that is nine times more than last year. Unfortunately, Belgium stopped killing nests last year as they had no government funding. 

If you didn’t see it here is an interesting article published in the Guardian on 19-June-23, called “Hornet hunters: the crack squad keeping an invasive species at bay on Jersey”, an interesting and informative piece. Read it here: 

At the time of writing, two Queen Asian Hornets, (AH) have been confirmed in Ashford and Canterbury, furthermore all Queens have been transported in cauliflower to the UK, as the known transmission method. 

This week the BBKA confirmed the following information from the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA): 

Please be aware was updated yesterday. 

On Thursday 22nd June a small primary nest of Asian hornets was reported to the NBU. A National Bee Unit Inspector investigated the report and collected samples which have been sent for analysis by scientists. Traps have been set for hornets returning to the nest site, and follow up activities will take place to raise awareness. 

This is the earliest date in the season that a nest has ever been found in Great Britain. Nests have previously been reported in the autumn, when insects are more visible as the population of the nest increases to its maximum. 

Please report sightings of Vespa velutina using the ‘Asian hornet Watch’ app for iPhone and Android, or the online reporting form.

The full article is available here: 

Keith Mackie 

Last month we reminded everyone to be vigilant for AH and what was needed if an AH was observed. Since writing that article, middle of last month, there have been numerous sightings particularly at-risk points such as ports, through imported goods and areas where nests have occurred previously. 

Some of these sightings are still under investigation by the National Bee Unit (NBU) and local AH Teams (AHT). However, we have provided below hyperlinks of information on sightings and in the media, the final conclusions are still awaited from NBU, at time of writing.

13-April-23: NBU confirmed an AH sighting in Folkstone, Kent. BBKA has advised these photos are believed to be the basis of the confirmed AH sighting in Folkestone. 

18-April-23: NBU contacted the BBKA with this information…Please can BBKA AHT around Poole be made aware of an ‘unconfirmed sighting’ of an AH. The NBU received a credible triaged report on 17th April. The report included the clear photo shown below of an Asian hornet on the deck of a Ferry from Poole to Cherbourg taken on 10th April 2023. The reporter noticed the unusual insect, so took photos and reported. 

05-April-23: An AH was discovered inside a cauliflower on Wednesday 5th April. NBU received a credible triaged report of an AH discovered inside a cauliflower within a weekly vegetable delivery in Northumberland, approximately 20 miles north of Newcastle upon Tyne. The NBU responded to the report and a bee inspector collected the hornet later the same day for analysis. This was a single AH incursion and follow up activities will take place to raise risk awareness with the producer/distributor/seller. The cauliflower was produced in France. Link

What is an AH – Primary Nests?

It is important not only to be able to recognise the AH but also to be able to recognise the primary nest of the species, at this time of year (April-May). 

Credit: Richard Noel, 

This looks very similar to a wasp nest and starts off about the size of a tennis ball and grows throughout the spring/summer. It may be found be in garages, sheds, woodstores and sides of building etc. 

If you have found something similar – please wait the return of the AH then See it, Snap it, Send it by reporting it to or using the Asian Hornet Watch App, available for free download from Android via Google Play, or iOS via iTunes. 

How can BKA members help? 

Surrey BKA, needs an effective Asian Hornet Team (AHT) comprised of local BKA divisional members. This hyperlink shows a BBKA AHT Map of team members, gaps exist in geographical coverage. Can you help? 

The main aim of an AHT is when a sighting is made (rare across the UK) then action is taken to report through the AH Watch App or links, rather than act; allowing the NBU to take over the assessments. 

The BBKA has recommended associations to have fifteen members available (as the AHT) when called upon, in essence formed of six local BKA divisional members. All members are volunteers, that are willing to be available if an AH sighting was made in Surrey or on its boarders. 

If you are willing to become one of our local AHT members, then please visit the following hyperlink

The hyperlink advises on the role, along with qualification as an AHT member via the online exercise, as a means of increasing your identification ability and assistance to members of the public in any sighting, following up on leads, personnel safety, etc. 

All BBKA members are welcome to take the AHT quiz/exercise as a means of increasing their awareness of the Asian Hornet characteristics and our behaviour to a sighting. 

On passing, please advise your BKA AHT Coordinator / Lead, along with confirmation that you wish to be publicly listed on the BBKA AHAT Map (flagged on eR2 system; that you are a qualified AHT member, with training completed and so insured by BBKA). 

All photos included in this article are accredited to BBKA ( unless noted otherwise 

More information: 

Kindest regards 

Keith Mackie, 

Surrey BKA Asian Hornet Team Coordinator (Interim), & Reigate BKA AHT Lead 

High Trees, 26 London Road South, Merstham, Surrey, RH1 3DT 

Chronic Bee Paralysis Virus 

Chronic Bee Paralysis Virus – Zoom Meeting, 31st July 

This meeting was a presentation about the virus in general, and our local experiences of it. David Parker, who set up the slide presentation, introduced the topic, giving useful background information, followed by Marion Cooper, who described two occurrences of the disease in hers and Geoff’s apiaries. WBK responded to the request in the June BBKA News for assistance with research that Professor Giles Budge is doing on this virus at Newcastle University. Marion described the methods used in the research in which contact between older infected bees and younger ones was reduced. Michael Main presented the results on the colonies used in our Teaching Apiary as part of this project. 

We were joined by some members from Guildford and Kingston Divisions as well as by Roger Patterson, a well-known Sussex beekeeper, and Giles Budge. Valuable contributions were made by both of these guests and we were particularly grateful to Giles for giving us the benefit of his ongoing research as he answered questions at the end of the evening. 

Andrew Halstead recorded the presentation so that it is available for those unable to attend. 

It can be viewed via this link: 

It is also live now in the Members Area of our WBK website, under Presentations and Training Videos on YouTube 

I should like to thank those who responded to the request to let us know if their bees are affected this year. Reports have been received from three more areas within our Division, but these areas are not adjacent to each other or to those already reported, so the infection seems widespread, although thankfully not very prevalent so far. Keep looking out for the classic signs: 

  • • Large numbers of dead bees on hive floors and/or outside the hive 
  • • Bees struggling to walk and appearing to tremble 
  • • Bees with their wings held out sideways, away from their bodies 
  • • Bees that have lost the hairs on their bodies and appear black, and oily/greasy 

If found, please let Marion Cooper know as she is keeping a record of cases;

There are two pieces of good news locally about CBPV: 

1. The infected bees seem to be recovering slowly, although sadly depleted. 

2. We are pleased that the infected Apiary at the Teaching Apiary is now involved with the research project being run by Prof Giles Budge at Newcastle University. Most of the data collection is kindly being done by Michael Main, with help from others as required. 

Marion Cooper 

A request for spare beekeeping equipment to help start a School Bee Club

I have been beekeeping now for almost 5 years and have thoroughly enjoyed learning a new hobby and discovering new things about our fascinating fuzzy friends! In this time, I have been lucky enough to be part of this wonderful division, that is always kind, helpful and specific when talking to beginner beekeepers. This has led to my increased confidence in many aspects of keeping bees, from swarm management to harvesting my very own crop of honey! Therefore, I thought I might try to share my new passion and spread my new knowledge a bit further!

For the record, by day I am a teacher in a primary school and thought what a fantastic idea it would be to take bees to the school and even try and set up a club. I do think this will be a challenge for me, but after reviewing the school’s section on the BBKA website I feel like I would like to make a go of it!

The aim would be to give the children an opportunity they would not normally get to do. In my 10 years of teaching, I have never come across a school that has kept bees. I am sure some of our members may know some schools who keep bees but I sense that this type of club is much less common than your usual extracurricular activities.

The school itself is situated in area that has a diverse profile of pupils so it would be hugely beneficial for them to have a chance at an activity that is not normally on offer. Another obvious benefit, that we all know well, is the opportunity for the children to really take notice and appreciate all the wonderful plants and animals (great and small!) nature has to offer! Appreciating nature is a common thread that starts right at the beginning of the Early Years Framework right the way through the Key Stages. Therefore, the club will enrich the curriculum offer that is already provided.

I am aiming to start the club this year – after the Easter break. Therefore, I am looking for some donations to be able to start a beekeeping club at my primary school. I wondered if anyone had any spare equipment that they do not want to use any more that we could have to get the children started. I am currently looking for:

X2 hives
X6 children’s bee suits
X2 smokers
Enough hive tools for 6 children.
Anything else you think would be useful!
As mentioned earlier I am using the BBKA documents as a guide but am more than happy to receive feedback on things you think will be important to mention.

Thank you very much for spending the time reading my message and I hope everyone has a fantastic new season!

Ollie Dean

Best wishes, Ollie, for your project.
A number of schools do run activities with bees, the nearest one that I know is Burhill School in Hersham, where some of our members have, in the past, worked with the children on beekeeping. Perhaps some of them would like to contact Ollie.

BBKA Spring Convention 21-23 April at Harper Adams University

If you are a student beekeeper or a new beekeeper, (long practicing beekeepers will be well aware of this event) and intend to take your beekeeping seriously, you would do well to attend this annual event. There is a very comprehensive trade fair with equipment of every type at a range of prices. Equally important is the large number of lectures on a very wide range of beekeeping topics, at various levels from beginner to current university research work. If you are not able to go this year, bear it in mind for another as it is an annual event.

The key date for members to know about is that Bookings open on 30th January.

Full details of this year’s Convention will be found on the Spring Convention pages of the BBKA website: 

Winter Social and Quiz Wednesday 22nd February, 7.30pm

Venue: The Pelican Pub,

Winter Social and Quiz Wednesday 22nd February, 7.30pm

Ideally teams of 4, no more than 6.

9 Hamm Moor Lane, Addlestone KT15 2SB

Social Gathering from 19:30, quiz starts at 20:00 and ends about 22:00.

People can enter as a team or if they prefer as individuals/couples and they will be ‘teamed’ up with others. The quiz will have a beekeeping bias, but other content as well, so non-beekeeping partners

are welcome.

There will be some nibbles provided for the tables, chips and garlic bread.

There is plenty of parking round The Pelican, which is a canal side pub on an industrial estate. If you’ve not been there before you will find it by passing a no-through round sign and the pub is

towards the end of that street on the left.

Numbers are limited, so please respond promptly and places will be allocated on a first-come basis.

Please send your names to

How much honey is left in ‘wet’ supers after extraction is completed?

When you request your bees to dry out your frames for you, have you realised how much honey you (and they) are contributing to their winter stores? The answer is that a box of 11 wet extracted frames in a super contains about 1lb 4oz of honey. So if you ask your bees to dry out 3 supers, each with 11 wet frames, they will be adding nearly 4 lb of honey to to their winter stores. In other words, a full size colony, fed for winter, will increase its 40 lb of stores by about 10% from the wet frames. Or you could reduce the stores that you ensure they have (before drying out) from 40 lb to 36 lb (such precision!).

Don’t forget to tell your bees.

Look out for more exciting wax cappings data in the the December issue.

Geoff Cooper

Honey Show Reports 2022

Surrey BKA Honey Show, Saturday 8th October
This very pleasant event took place at Reigate Division’s Henfold Apiary and was enjoyed by all. Some of our members entered various items and a list of successes is give below. It is worth pointing out that there is a cup – The Vincent Challenge Cup – awarded to the Surrey Division that gains the most points. Weybridge came second in 2021 and again this year. There are some dedicated and extremely successful entrants from Reigate. This year they had 137 points to our 67, so there was a big gap between their first position and our second, but wouldn’t it be good to beat them? How about trying in 2023?

Results in alphabetical order of entrants:
(VHC = Very Highly Commended C = Commended)

Geoff CooperVHCComb suitable for extraction
Marion Cooper2ndHoney biscuits
2ndLemon honey cake
3rdHoney fruit cake
Lisa Davis2ndHoney & beeswax products
Andrew Halstead1stTwo jars medium honey
VHCTwo jars set honey
Jane Hunter3rdHoney biscuits
3rdTwo beeswax candles
VHCHoney fruit cake
VHCBlack and white photo
David Parker1stTwo jars dark honey
1stTwo cut comb containers (Colman Cup)
3rdTow jars set honey
3rdComposite display of four items
CComb suitable for extraction

National Honey Show, 27th – 29th October

Results for Weybridge Division in alphabetical order of entrants:

(VHC = Very Highly Commended C = Commended)

Geoff Cooper2ndFrame for extraction (Surrey member)
Marion Cooper1stHoney biscuits
1stContainer of liquid honey
2ndHoney sultana and cherry cake
CDate cake
Mather Cup (Surrey member with most points in National classes)
Andrew HalsteadVHCTwo jars set honey (Surrey member)
VHCOne jar light or medium honey (Surrey member)
Mark Hamilton1stTow jars medium honey (Surrey member)
1stOne jar light/medium honey (Surrey member)
1stTwo containers cut comb, free from ling (Surrey member)
2ndTwo containers cut comb, free from ling (NHS class)
2ndTwo jars liquid honey (Surrey member)
3rdContainer of honey, free from ling (National class)
HCOne piece of beeswax (NHS class)
CSix 28g beeswax blocks (Gift class)
Jonathan Kernan1stTwo jars light honey (Open class)
(Mrs BW Hamlin cup – best in Classes 110-115)
1stTwo jars liquid honey (Surrey member) (Egerton Smythe cup)
2ndTwo jars liquid honey (Open class)
2ndTwo jars medium honey (Surrey member)
David Parker1stFrame for extraction (Surrey member) (Hood Chalice)
1stTwo jars dark honey (Surrey member)
2ndTwo containers cut comb, free from ling (Surrey member)
2ndTwo moulded candles (Surrey member)
VHCTwo containers cut comb, free from ling (NHS class)

Congratulations to us all! Please let me know of any errors or omissions and I will put corrections in the December Newsletter.
Thanks to Marion for the time she spent in sifting this from multiple pages of information.

Weybridge Beekeepers AGM : 2.30 pm, Sunday 13th November 2022 and Future Events

This is to notify you of our Annual General Meeting, which will take place in the comfortable surroundings of the Beacon in Chertsey on 13th November.  We plan to offer an online option for those who can’t travel to the venue.  Details of access and parking has been published in the November newsletter a map is included.  For those coming to the meeting in person, we will have tea/coffee and cake, as in previous years, and also the honey tasting is back!  


Surrey BKA AGM, Saturday December 3rd

This year the AGM is being hosted by Reigate Division and will be in the afternoon. Further details will be provided when sent to us.

WBK stall in Weybridge, Sunday December 4th

We have been invited to take a stall at the Christmas Market of St Charles Primary School. The event will be held in the Parish Hall of Christ the Prince of Peace Catholic Church in Portmore Park Road from 11.30-3.00, with set up from 9.00.

If you can spare time to help and sell some of your honey, please contact Jane Hunter ( More details will be given when provided by the school.

National Honey Day, Friday October 21st 2022

We have been asked to share with our members the information below received from BBKA announcing National Honey Day.

The British Beekeepers Association are celebrating the first National Honey Day on 21st October, and we would like to invite you to share in this day when we will be encouraging everyone to buy a jar of local honey, produced by bees here in the UK.

Not only do we want to ensure people are aware of all the benefits honey provides but we are seeking to celebrate the pleasure of eating honey. Honey has been enjoyed all over the world for centuries, it was found in the Egyptian tombs and is often depicted being collected by bees in ancient cave drawings.

During this day of celebration, you could encourage friends and family to share photos on social media: You and your jars of Local Honey!

The things you do with your honey. Perhaps you eat it on toast or in porridge? Perhaps you bake with honey or make mead? Do you make honey-containing cosmetics?

Use the hashtags #NationalHoneyDay, #LocalHoney, #Beekeeping 

We are concerned that consumers can buy honey and not a jar labelled honey that contains additives such as corn syrup, and other additives and chemicals. We want people to be aware and informed about the world-wide fraud affecting imported honey. 

The BBKA will be continuing the work started as a response to propositions in the Annual Delegates Meeting in January and will be launching a new petition calling on the Government to revisit the intended change in labelling of Honey sold in the UK. Some changes were to have come into law later this year but have been delayed until 2024. We want people to be able to recognise honey produced here in the UK and be able to have a choice in what they are buying. Some imported ‘honey’ has never been collected by a bee. The BBKA is asking for informed information on the labels of honey, we are asking that consumers and our beekeepers are protected from the fraud, which is occurring worldwide now. 

We will send the link to the petition when it is officially launched, please help this initiative by signing the petition and share it as widely as possible

Our goal is to reach 100,000 signatures as this will mean the Government will consider it for debate in Parliament. It will need the support of the general public and not just the beekeeping community to achieve this result, therefore we will be seeking the engagement of all our BBKA Associations to actively encourage the general public to support the petition.

Many thanks for your continued support of this important initiative.

From the BBKA via Julie Hogarth (Surrey BKA Secretary)