The National Bee Unit has confirmed a sighting of an individual, female Asian hornet in New Milton, Hampshire, after it was reported by a member of the public. Based upon visual examination, the hornet is likely to be a queen.
This is the first confirmed sighting since October 2018, when a sighting of an individual hornet was confirmed in Dungeness, Kent. Monitoring is underway to detect any other Asian hornets in the vicinity.
There are concerns that the Asian hornet, which is a non-native species in the UK, could be accidentally introduced on boats returning from mainland Europe.
What’s the risk?
Some non-native species are completely harmless but others, known as invasive species, have the ability to cause damage to the environment, the economy, our health and the way we live.
Vespa velutina, also known as the Asian hornet, is an invasive non-native species from Asia. It arrived via a shipment of pottery into a French port in 2004, where it spread rapidly. As a highly effective predator of insects, including honey bees and other beneficial species, it can cause significant losses to bee colonies, and potentially other native species.
What does an Asian hornet look like?
Download a free identification guide for Asian hornet, including comparisons with other species that it is commonly confused with, here.
What should I do if I come across an Asian Hornet?
The RYA works closely with the GB Non Native Species Secretariat (NNSS), the Environment Agency, Natural England, Natural Resources Wales, Marine Scotland and Invasive Species Ireland to advise recreational boaters on the steps they can take to minimise the spread of invasive non-native species.
The Green Blue, the joint environment initiative between the
Royal Yachting Association and British Marine, provides biosecurity guidance and awareness raising materials on aquatic non-native species for boat users, clubs and centres. Find this at https://www.thegreenblue.org.uk/Boat-Users/Invasive-Species.
Further guidance is also available on the RYA’s Planning and Environment hub.