This recently arrived non-native invasive species, whilst not posing a threat to human health is a predator to insects including the honey bee.
According to the British Bee Keeper’s Association website “In the UK about 70 crops are dependent on, or benefit from, visits from bees. In addition, bees pollinate the flowers of many plants which become part of feed for farm animals. The economic value of honey bees and bumblebees as pollinators of commercially grown insect-pollinated crops in the UK has been estimated at over £200 million per year .” With bees already under threat from farming practices and disease the government recently annouced the launch of a new App to help people quickly and easily report sightings of this invasive species.
It is hoped that by using the eyes and ears of smartphone users (Ofcom estimates two thirds of all UK adults own one) that the spread of the Asian Hornet will be halted. People will be able to download and use the ” Asian Hornet Watch” App for free, currently available from the Apple and Android app stores. Thus making it quick and easy to report possible sightings of the invasive species and send pictures of suspect insects to experts at the National Bee Unit.
Details on the appearance of an Asian hornet please can be found also on the Bee Base guide or the non-native species identification guide where useful ID factsheets and posters can be downloaded. Individual actions can make a difference so why not share this post, download the App and even add to the collection of posters in your work kitchen or breakout area!