There has been a confirmed finding of an Asian Hornet north of the Mendip Hills in Somerset. As with the first sighting, work to find, destroy and remove any nests is already underway.
It is very important that beekeepers remain vigilant and monitor their apiaries and surrounding forage for any Asian hornet activity. At this time of the year, Asian hornets can be seen foraging on the ivy for nectar and preying on other foraging insects for protein.
Traps should also be hung out and closely monitored. When using bait, please refrain from using light beer or lager mixed with sugar as this does not work. In France a Dark beer, mixed with 25ml of strawberry syrup and 25ml of orange liqueur has proven to work well.
Additionally, a protein bait of mashed fish e.g. prawns or trout, diluted to 25% has also proven effective. Anyone wishing to make their own traps may find the following factsheet useful: How to make a homemade Asian hornet monitoring trap.
Further guidance on identifying the Asian hornet can be found on the Asian hornet pages of Beebase where you will find a very useful Asian hornet ID sheet and Asian hornet poster. All of this information can be found on the Asian hornet page of BeeBase: http://www.nationalbeeunit.com/index.cfm?pageId=208
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Following the finding of Asian hornets in Gloucestershire last week we have received a large number of suspect Asian hornet reports from members of the public and beekeepers which we are following up. Bee inspectors have now visited over 100 sites. Asian hornets have been seen at just six locations within 500 meters of the original site.
Efforts to track down the nest and destroy it are ongoing. There have been no other substantiated reports of hornets anywhere else in the UK so please be patient while we continue our field work and be assured that when appropriate, national alerts will be sent out via our email alert system. In the meantime, our news feed on BeeBase will be used to keep everyone updated.
Please also see the updated ID sheet to help you Identify Vespa velutina in your apiaries: http://www.nationalbeeunit.com/index.cfm?pageId=208. At this time of the year, the best bait to use in traps is fish bait diluted to 25%
Please continue to monitor your own apiaries using hornet traps and encourage those whom you know are not registered on our database to sign up.
Would members please note that reports are coming in of colonies eating up stores already provided for the winter. It is recommended therefore, that you give them a heft to ensure that they have enough stores to go through the winter and top them up if required. Whilst the bees are busy on the ivy it should not be solely relied upon to provide a sufficient quantity of liquid feed during the winter, due to its tendency to crystallize which the bees may have difficulty in accessing during the cold winter months.