Pest control professionals can expect Asian hornets to continue to create a buzz in 2020

PEST control professionals are being told to expect Asian hornets, Vespa velutina, to continue to create a buzz in 2020 – and are being advised to attend BASIS PROMPT accredited CPD courses to keep up to date on these invasive non-native species.

That is according to pest control expert Avril Turner, Midlands Technical Manager for Killgerm who, based on historic findings and advice from Asian hornet experts, believes that awareness regarding Asian hornets in the UK needs to remain high as there are likely to be more sightings in 2020. Avril is also a committee member for BASIS PROMPT.

Native to China, the Asian hornet is now widespread in parts of Portugal, France, Spain and the Channel Islands. Since 2016, there have been 17 confirmed sighting of the Asian hornet in the UK. The most recent sighting was on October 1 near Christchurch, Bournemouth.

“Without a doubt, there is still a risk of Asian hornets residing in the UK in 2020 so pest control professionals need to maintain their awareness and vigilance,” said Avril.

“One of the more recent confirmed sightings was close to my home, in Tamworth, and I spent the summer and autumn keeping my eyes peeled for Asian hornets locally.”

The Asian hornet is smaller than the European hornet Vespa crabro found in the UK, poses a sting risk to humans and should not be approached by members of the public. It does of course pose a threat to honey bees and pollinating insects, which is where the main concern is.

Asian hornets have a dark brown or black velvety body, have a yellow or orange band on fourth segment of abdomen, have yellow-tipped legs and aren’t active at night.

Holidaymakers can also accidently transport an Asian hornet when returning to the UK from abroad.

BASIS PROMPT allocate CPD points for courses which identify common pests in the UK and, from 2020, there will be, no doubt, more expert information on Asian hornets.

“There is so much valuable information out there, which our pest control professionals need to know to stay on top of their game,” added Avril.

“Being a BASIS PROMPT member means that you have this knowledge and can prove to your clients that you’re well-informed about the profession.”

Stay abreast of all insects which pest control professionals may come across with one of our CPD courses –
An ‘Asian hornet identification and awareness’ booklet, aimed at pest control professionals, is available here