Warning to public after invasive Asian hornets spotted in Kent and Dorset

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An Asian hornet was spotted in Folkestone, Kent in April 2023.

A warning has been issued for the public to remain vigilant after sightings of Asian hornets in Kent and Dorset.

The invasive species was spotted in Folkestone on 13 April, but flew off before it could be captured. Monitoring traps have been deployed in the area.

The British Beekeepers Association said: "The details from the report suggest this was a single hornet incursion.

"Beekeepers in the area and volunteer Asian hornet teams will be asked to maintain vigilance and monitor for Asian hornet."

An Asian Hornet spotted on the deck of a ferry in Poole. Credit: BBKA

An Asian hornet was also spotted on the deck of a ferry from Poole to Cherbourg taken on 10 April 2023.

The British Beekeeper's Association says it has set traps in Poole and Hamworthy in order to capture any that may be in the area.

The Asian hornet, or yellow-legged hornet, is an invasive species in Britain and is a significant predator of bees.

The RSPB says that in France, Asian hornets have consumed large numbers of bees, including the well-known European honey bee and many lesser-known solitary and colonial bee species.

 The BBKA has three steps to identify an Asian Hornet:

1. Does it look very black?

2. Has it got a wide orange stripe on 4th segment of abdomen? 

3. Do its legs look as if they have been dipped in yellow paint?

If you spot an Asian hornet, BBKA says: "It is crucial you report any possible sightings so experts can take quick and effective action to eradicate Asian hornets.

"The best way is to use the 'Asian Hornet Watch' app to record and report any sightings. However, if you haven’t downloaded the app yet then send your photos and videos by email to: alertnonnative@ceh.ac.uk."