Suspected Asian Hornet Sighting in Devon
Gracie Moore, Online Arts + Lit Editor, writes on information regarding the hornet sighting.
Devon has been on guard recently due to an alleged spotting of an Asian hornet. The situation is currently being investigated by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. According to Plymouth Live, the alleged sighting was made on Sunday 23rd July.
Asian hornets are highly predatory, posing a large threat to UK wildlife. They are a non-native species from East Asia that have been rapidly spreading throughout Europe since they were accidentally introduced in 2004. The most common way they enter areas is through transport systems. It is also important to note that the hornets measure around 3.5cm and have bright orange heads.
In the wake of the sighting, Brits are being urged to report any further sightings through the Asian Hornet Watch app which helps to detect them. According to Plymouth Live, this is the way the Plymouth hornet was tracked on the 23rd of July. It has been said that this particular hornet was found attacking bees around a solar wax extractor.
In wake of the sighting, Brits are being urged to report any further sightings through the Asian Hornet Watch app which helps to detect them.
Asian hornets pose a large threat to the populations of bees so many beekeepers in the city of Plymouth already have attractants in place to capture the hornets. DEFRA has therefore recommended that these attractants be adopted in most places in England, even where the risk of hornet incursion is low.
Asian hornets have a very painful venomous sting and are known to attack humans if they feel threatened. Luckily, they haven’t yet naturalised in the UK however they make their way into the country via shipping crates and caravans. They also create their nests in April and in October, each nest produces roughly 14 reproductive individuals so there is a critical period between April and October each year in which the nests must be identified and destroyed. Since 2016, more than 10 nests have been destroyed throughout the UK but residents are not familiar with the appearance of the species which makes the culling more difficult. DEFRA has said that while Asian hornets pose no more threat to humans than the average bee, they are a big threat to our native honey bees which is why we need to contain them.
According to the UK government, the signs to look out for when judging whether an insect is an Asian hornet or not are: having a dark brown or black velvety body, a yellow or orange band on the fourth segment of the abdomen, yellow-tipped legs and be smaller than the European hornet. Those who spot an Asian hornet should report it on the Asian Hornet watch app as soon as possible.