UK Calls for Increased Vigilance Against Asian Hornets This Summer

By Ivan PetrenkoMay 21, 2024 09:32 AMNews
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Asian hornet flying near a green leaf
Increased vigilance urged for Asian hornet sightings. Source: pixabay

As summer approaches, the UK's Chief Plant Health Officer, Professor Nicola Spence, urges beekeepers and the public, including travelers, to stay alert and report any sightings of Asian hornets. This call to action is particularly relevant for those exploring the countryside and natural areas, aiming to protect the country's honey bees and other pollinators.

Asian hornets, slightly smaller than native hornets, do not pose a significant threat to human health but are a considerable danger to bees. These hornets are identifiable by their dark bodies, orange stripes on the fourth abdomen segment, and yellow leg ends. Sightings can be reported through the Asian Hornet Watch App.

Last year, the UK saw a record number of Asian hornet sightings, with 72 nests destroyed in 56 locations, primarily in Kent. Travelers visiting rural areas and parks should be particularly vigilant, as these are common places for hornet nests. The National Bee Unit is prepared to respond quickly to any new sightings and has set traps in areas where Asian hornet queens may have overwintered.

Early detection and reporting are vital in preventing the establishment of Asian hornets in the UK. The public, especially those traveling to nature reserves and outdoor destinations, can report sightings through the Asian Hornet Watch App or online. Additionally, the Chelsea Flower Show features an exhibit to raise awareness about the hornet’s threat to pollinators, which can be an informative visit for gardening enthusiasts and tourists alike.

Professor Spence highlights the importance of public vigilance in protecting bee colonies. By staying alert and reporting sightings, travelers can help ensure swift action is taken to combat this invasive species, safeguarding the environment and enhancing their travel experiences by contributing to the protection of local ecosystems.

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