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National Bee Unit issue:
Asian hornet in the UK: Update and Request for Heightened Vigilance.
During January 2017 The National Bee Unit issued a 'Dear Beekeepers' notice requesting for heightened Vigilance on the Vespa velutina nigrothorax, the yellow-legged hornet (a.k.a the Asian hornet)
which was first found in the UK in 2016. From findings, the first European sighting of the hornet was reported in France back in 2004. The Vespa velutina has since spread by around 80 to 100 kilometeres per annum, invading Belgium, Germany, Italy Spain and Portugal. They advised that Adult hornets are voracious predators of our honey bees and other beneficial insects, resulting in colony losses in France.
Asian hornets were reported near Tetbury, Gloucestershire during in September 2016, and a trapped individual was reported from Somerset. The nest found in Gloucestershire was destroyed by the National Bee Unit Inspectors and members of the Wildlife team in the Animal and Plant Health Agency. Despite extensive field inspections, they advise that no further Asian hornets were sighted in Somerset. However, given the ability of the Asian hornet to spread rapidly means that we must all remain vigilant and aware of any possible activity.