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Those of you who are now the owners of a Gard d'Apis Asian Hornet Trap may be just a little confused as to what to do next. Hopefully this helps.

Setting up the trap:
There is an excellent YouTube video here. There is another one here.

Where to put the bait:
One approach is to use a piece of kitchen sponge. Use one of those with a green scouring part - and cut that part of. Place the yellow sponge part in a little cup and gently pour in the bait. Note that these sponges are not the most absorbent and the bait should be poured in slowly.

The pictures above show the bait on a bit of sponge ready to go into the trap.

What bait to use:
One problem you may have is what to use as a bait. Trappit, formerly known as Suterra, is not readily available. I suspect that it is because it is stocked as a wasp bait and at this time of year there is not much call for wasp bait. So what do we use?

In the spring the Asian Hornet Queen is waking from a period of dormancy and her main requirement is carbohydrates. Only once she starts egg laying and rearing young will she require protein.

The National Bee Unit suggests a mixture of dark beer, strawberry desert sauce and orange liqueur. In practice it has been found that any sweet, smelly mixture will suffice. Alcoholic drinks seem to attract the Asian Hornet. I would go for a few mls of dark beer mixed with a few mls of wine and then add a sweet desert sauce. Do not under any circumstances use honey. If it is your own honey then there are better places to use it. If it is shop bought honey there is a very high possibility it was sourced from somewhere that has EFB or AFB. It is not worth the risk.

This splendid specimen was on my shed door this morning, warming itself in the sun. So what has that got to do with Asian Hornets you may well ask.

If the weather is warm enough for butterflies to emerge then it is warm enough for Asian Hornet Queens to emerge.

For those who have not heard the Asian Hornet Queen will hibernate on her own and when it is warm enough then she will emerge and seek a sheltered location to build a nest such as the roof of your shed.

This nest will be the size of a golf ball.

In this nest she will lay eggs which she will then nurture and eventually a full colony could form.

Every queen we can trap in the spring could mean several hundred queens we do not have to trap next spring. So let us get trapping.

If you have a trap then use it. If not then the BBKA have instructions on how to make one.

For bait you could use a commercial bait but it is expensive and at the moment very difficult to get hold of. The Asian Hornet Queen is hungry and needs carbohydrate so some combination of fruit juice, dark beer and cider vinegar is a good choice.

Put your bait in the trap and wait. check the trap at least daily. We do not want to be killing European Hornets.

Remember each queen we catch this year could be 400 fewer nests next year.

Sitting here with the rain drumming on the window it is difficult to think ahead to an active beekeeping season - but that is what we must do.

The first event which you need to know about is the Asian Hornet Workshop to be held at the Sunninghill Community Hall, Culliford Road in Dorchester. The event is on this Sunday the 18th February from 2:00pm to 5:00pm and includes:

  • Update on the Asian Hornet situation in the County from Mark White
  • Tea and Cakes
  • Talk by Pollenize on using AI for Asian Hornet detection.
  • There will be local and regional experts there with an opportunity for questions.

We were hoping to give out some Trappit but at the moment it is impossible to get hold of. There will be recipes for making your own.

Also next week we are starting the Beginners Course for aspiring beekeepers - or those just interested in beekeeping. Full details are avaialble on this web site.

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