Asian Hornet Resource Pack

Action Teams guidance for local groups

 These PDF files are extracts of the most important parts of the briefings given by Andrew Durham and published BBKA news. They are “Asian Hornet Beekeepers Guide – The Hornet & The Honeybee”, “Asian Hornet Beekeepers Guide – Integrated Control in the Apiary” and “Asian Hornet Beekeepers Guide – Integrated Control in the Area around the Apiary”. The pdfs contain a full commentary and additional explanatory slides 

Asian Hornet The Beekeepers’ Guide

The Hornet and the Honeybee

Presented by Andrew Durham

This special pdf is an extract from the briefing “Asian Hornet – The Beekeepers Guide” which is available to member associations of the British Beekeeping Association through the BBKA Speakers List.

The Asian hornet was accidentally introduced into France in 2004, it quickly spread and in many parts it is a significant problem especially for beekeepers. Few people in this country are aware of the scale of the problem being faced just across the Channel.

The Normandy dept of Manche highlighted here in red has the same area as Devon. // It normally destroys around 4,000 Asian hornet nests a year and if that sounds a lot, they are just the ones that are reported.

In the Normandy region as a whole, they destroy around 11,000 nests a year but that’s only about half of the 20,000 nests that are destroyed each year in the Region of Brittany, shown here in orange, which is just that bit further south.

The other region opposite us across the Channel, the Hauts de France, shown here in purple, has suffered less but nonetheless the hundreds of nests reported in each department every year can become thousands in the surge years that happen from time to time.

All along that coast from Brest to Ostend and even as far as Rotterdam, the Asian hornet nest numbers are steadily increasing.

Last year (2022) saw a significant surge in nest numbers right across France. Manche with a well-established and organised nest destruction scheme went from 4,000 nests 1 in 2021 to 9,176 nests by the end of November 2022, it was a new record. These surge years are happening more often.

Further up the coast in Belgium, predicted to be marginal for the hornet and where it was barely present in 2017, last year they were looking at several hundred nests and the hornet is now established beyond eradication.

So far we have been lucky, our weather indicated that we too, were a marginal environment for the hornet, but that weather is now changing, in the hornet’s favour and the hornet is adapting.

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    Asian Hornet The Beekeepers’ Guide

    Integrated Control in the Area Around the Apiary

    Presented by Andrew Durham

      This extract is from the briefing “Asian Hornet – The Beekeepers Guide”. In this part we looked at integrated control in the wider area around the apiary. An important control is the location and destruction of the Asian hornet nests and it is an effective measure in reducing nest numbers and thus predation in apiaries. It is especially important that this is done before the nests release their sexuals in the autumn. However, main nest destruction is beyond the scope of the briefing and should not be attempted by beekeepers that do not have specialist equipment and training.

      Nonetheless, there is another very effective method of reducing predation in the apiary and that is by trapping foundress queens in the spring after they emerge from hibernation. The foundress queens spend the first couple of weeks replenishing their hibernation losses and are to be found near early flowering plants and trees that excrete a sweet nectar. The queens then build a first nest into which they lay the first batch of workers. During this period the queen is on her own and is doing all the hunting for protein for her larvae. If you can catch the foundress queens that have hibernated in the area around the apiary you can achieve a significant reduction in predation.

      Spring trapping is carried out from when the minimum temperature rises above freezing and reaches around 12 degrees centigrade (mid to late February) for 4-5 successive days. This is when the first Asian hornet foundress queens emerge from hibernation. Spring trapping should cease and traps be removed after May. There are two reasons for this:

      Firstly – After May the foundress queens will have produced their first batch of 1 worker hornets and will be confined to their nests so the window of opportunity is limited.

      Secondly – Although we can make traps to be selective there is no 100% selective trap and we wish to avoid capturing native species that emerge later than the Asian hornet, such as the European hornet (Vespa Crabro). A good rule of thumb is to stop spring trapping when the first European hornets appear.

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      Asian Hornet The Beekeepers’ Guide

      Integrated Control in the Apiary

      Presented by Andrew Durham

      This presentation extract is part of a talk “Asian Hornet – The Beekeepers’ Guide” which is delivered to BBKA Associations (see BBKA Speakers List). These notes have been specially prepared, with additional slides, as a resource for BBKA Associations.

      Photographs are included in the pdf version in high definition and readers can zoom in for more detail.

      Integrated control is all about using a combination of the right measures at the right time. You may not have to use all of them. You must assess the level of threat, carefully observe what is happening in the apiary and be ready to match your response to it.

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