Home   News   Article

Environment: Contingency planning announced to combat the threat from the Asian hornet.

By David Porter

Register for free to read more of the latest local news. It's easy and will only take a moment.

Click here to sign up to our free newsletters!

Members of the public across Scotland are being urged to notify experts if they think they see a non-native hornet species.

If you see an Asian Hornet, you must report it. iStock image
If you see an Asian Hornet, you must report it. iStock image

Yellow-legged Asian hornets (Vespa velutina nigrithorax) are a non-native invasive species which are aggressive predators of several species, including honey bees and other pollinators.

Plans for dealing with sightings of the hornet – native to Northern India, China, the Indo-Chinese peninsula and the Indonesian archipelago – are included in the first annual report of the Bee Health Improvement Partnership (BHIP).

The Report also showed positive steps in tracking cases of Varroa mites which pose the biggest threat to honey bee colonies in Scotland.

A map showing the spread of the parasite, and highlighting areas where the mite has not been reported, such as the islands of Colonsay and Oronsay, which are nature reserves for Apis mellifera mellifera (Amm, Black Bee), was shared with beekeepers across the country to highlight where particular care is needed in order to prevent spread of the parasite into these areas.

Agriculture Minister Jim Fairlie said: “I am delighted to see the progress made by the Bee Health Improvement Partnership to help deliver our second 10-year Scottish Government Honey Bee Health Strategy. By developing a Contingency Plan to address any Asian hornet incursion in Scotland, we are well prepared to tackle and eradicate the insect before it has an opportunity to establish.We cannot underestimate the devastating impact this non-native predator has on honey bees and other insects, including important pollinators, and I urge people to be aware of what to look for and report any potential sightings.”

An Asian hornet spotted on a honeycomb in England - concerns have been raised about their spread into Scotland.
An Asian hornet spotted on a honeycomb in England - concerns have been raised about their spread into Scotland.

While there has been no confirmed Asian hornet sighting in Scotland, last year saw a significant increase in England, including as far north as Yorkshire.

The Asian Hornet Contingency Plan will ensure that any incursion is dealt with swiftly by Scottish Government Honey Bee Inspectors who would confirm the sighting and then take steps to find, destroy and remove nests.

Members of the public can report suspect sightings of Asian hornets to the Great British Non-Native Species Secretariat (NNSS), which has responsibility for helping to coordinate the approach to invasive non-native species in Great Britain. Sightings should be reported through the free Asian Hornet Watch App, available for Android and iPhone.

Other methods of reporting the hornet also include using the NNSS online notification form or emailing alertnonnative@ceh.ac.uk with the location of the sighting and a description of the insect seen and a photograph if it is safe to take.

Do you want to respond to this article? If so, click here to submit your thoughts and they may be published in print.

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies - Learn More