Unfortunately, there have been a record number of sightings of Asian hornets in the UK recently which is raising fears of catastrophic consequences for the country’s bee populations. We take a look at the threat of Asian hornets to both bees and humans and what you should do if you suspect hornet activity nearby.
What are Asian Hornets?
Asian hornets are an invasive species that are native to Southeast Asia. They are larger and more aggressive than native British wasps and hornets, and they are voracious predators of honeybees. A single Asian hornet can kill up to 40 honeybees in a single day.
If Asian hornets become established in the UK, they could have a devastating impact on bee populations and pollination. This could lead to a decline in crop yields and food security, as well as a loss of biodiversity.
How can we control the spread?
The government is taking steps to control the spread of Asian hornets, but it is important for the public to be aware of the threat and to report any sightings. If you see an Asian hornet, please do not attempt to handle it yourself. Instead, call in professionals who are equipped to deal with these types of pests. You can also report it to the Asian Hornet Watch website or by calling the National Bee Improvement Centre on 0300 303 7771.
Here are some tips to help you avoid Asian hornets:
- Be aware of the signs of an Asian hornet nest, such as a large, papery nest hanging from a tree or building.
- Do not leave food or drinks outside, as this can attract Asian hornets.
- Cover your food when eating outdoors.
- If you see an Asian hornet, do not swat at it. This will only make it angry. Instead, walk away calmly and report the sighting.
The Dangers of Hornets
In addition to the dangers posed to bees by hornets, there are also risks to humans. Hornets can sting multiple times and their venom can be harmful, especially to people who are allergic. If you are stung by a hornet, it is important to seek medical attention immediately.
If you see a hornet, it is best to avoid it and let it go its way. If you see them in numbers and are concerned you may have a nest nearby, you should contact a pest control professional. Do not attempt to remove the nest yourself.
By being aware of the dangers of hornets to bees and humans, we can all take steps to protect ourselves and our environment.
Here are some additional tips for protecting bees from hornets:
- Plant flowers that are attractive to bees, but not to hornets. These include mint and thyme
- Avoid using pesticides that are harmful to bees
- Inspect your home, and outbuildings for hornet nests regularly
- Remove any food sources that may attract hornets, such as open garbage cans or pet food
By taking these steps, we can help protect bees from hornets and ensure that these important pollinators continue to thrive.
If you have concerns and believe you have identified a potential hornet or wasp problem, give us a call at Falcon Environmental Services on 01752 929292. You can also read more about hornets and what they look like here.