The Asian Hornet is close to our shores in the Channel Islands and that is a serious problem.
Why is it is a problem?
The problem is that the Asian Hornet likes to eat honey bees and though you may not like honey the honey bee is responsible for pollinating a lot of our crops. Without the honey bee our fruit bowl would be a sorry site. The Asian Hornet will hover outside the bee hive and grab passing bees and eat them. This is known as “hawking” and can be seen here and here.
At present we do not have any Asian Hornets in the country but they are in the Channel Islands where they have had a significant effect on the honey bees. The fear, here in Dorset, is that someone coming into Poole from the Channel Islands will bring back an Asian Hornet by accident, perhaps it will have got trapped in the folds of a tent or flown into a caravan as they were packing up.
How can you help?
Learn what to look for. An Asian Hornet is not just a big wasp like thing. There are many wasp like things flying around that look big and threatening but in many cases these insects are not a threat to you or to the Honey Bee.
The one you are looking for – and hoping not to find – has two distinctive features.
- A black/brown body with just one wide yellow band near the tail end of the abdomen.
- Yellow legs at the foot end. (Yellow Socks?)
If it has these then the chances are it is an Asian Hornet and we need to know about it.
The easiest way to report the Asian Hornet is using the App which is available for the Android and the iPhone.
There are also two excellent identification sheets you can download, one from Hymettus though the sheet was produced in 2010 and since then the distribution in France has increased.
The other factsheet is from non-native species website and clearly shows the single yellow band on the abdomen of the Asian Hornet.
There is more information in the Country Page of the Dorset Echo a copy of which can be downloaded here.