Warning! The Asian Hornet lands in Scotland

The Scottish Government has confirmed that a single Asian Hornet, Vespa velutina had been identified at a retail warehouse in the central belt of Scotland. The Asian Hornet is a non-native species and a serious predator of honey bees and other pollinators which has recently become established in Europe. There are no more public health risks associated with Asian hornets other than with bees or wasps.

Asian hornets were first identified in the GB during autumn 2016, that outbreak was dealt with and no further reports have been confirmed since.  It is not possible to identify the origin of this individual and no further sightings have been made, however for surveillance purposes the Scottish Government has placed Asian Hornet traps in the area and alerted the pest control industry and beekeepers to be vigilant for this species.

The recent discovery of an Asian Hornet at a supermarket distribution centre in Scotland reinforces the need for vigilance for this invasive pest. The outbreak in Gloucestershire last autumn was contained by the Government’s quick response and speedy reporting by the public. We can only keep this pest from establishing in the UK if we have rapid reporting of any findings and the assistance of the pest control industry is vital for this. Early interception and reporting are key.

Now is the time when Asian hornet queens start to emerge from hibernation and we need to intercept them before they start to build their nests.

If you suspect you have seen an Asian hornet please report this to us straight away using the alert email address: alertnonnative@ceh.ac.uk with a location (and photo if possible). The GB Non-native Species Secretariat are also developing a free reporting App with ID information which will be launched later this month.

The ID sheet and Alert Poster are available online here:
https://secure.fera.defra.gov.uk/nonnativespecies/downloadDocument.cfm?id=872
https://secure.fera.defra.gov.uk/nonnativespecies/downloadDocument.cfm?id=646

If you want hard/laminated copies of the ID sheet or poster please let the Non-native Species Secretariat (NNSS) know (including what number you would like) and they will send them to you.

For more information, contact NNSS: nnss@apha.gsi.gov.uk.