Gloucestershire Asian Hornet Action Team (AHAT)

It is assumed that the Asian hornet (Vespa velutina) will again appear in Gloucestershire.  The role of the county AHAT is to coordinate the efforts to share any reports  and confirm any Asian hornet sightings including the collection of photographs or samples.

Asian hornet (Vespa velutina)

Once the National Bee Unit (NBU) of DEFRA has been informed, they will then take charge of the operation to find and destroy the nest.  Under their direction AHATs may be invited to help find it. 

Mike Forster is the County AHAT Coordinator and each GBKA branch has an AHAT lead indicated below :

BranchContact
Cheltenham & GloucesterMike Forster
Cirencester & DistrictDenis Flavel
Dean ForestGraham Pugh
NewentJohn Whitaker
North CotswoldsSarah Foulkes
StroudPeter Lead
South CotswoldsTBC

The Asian hornet is smaller than our native hornet and poses no greater risk to human health than a bee. However, they do pose a risk to honey bees because they will kill them when they need protein to feed their own larvae.

Asian hornets were found in the Tetbury area of Gloucestershire in September 2016. The National Bee Unit found and destroyed a nest, which they believe was the only one in the area. Additional confirmed sighting have been reported in other parts of the country each year since.

Beekeepers should check for the presence of Asian hornets by putting out traps. On warm spring days, mated queen hornets may emerge from hibernation as early as February, and worker hornets will be on the wing throughout the beekeeping season, right up until November, so hanging out traps between these two dates is a useful monitoring tool. Sugary liquid bait should be used in the spring, and a fish-based bait is recommended in the late summer when hornets are looking for protein to feed their young.

Simple wasp traps will also catch European and Asian Hornets if the trap entrance is at least 12mm diameter.

The National Bee Unit web site has full information about Asian Hornets and how to deal with them, information on suitable traps, and links to articles and videos covering the experience with Asian Hornets in France. Please read their information on the NBU website: NBU – BeeBase