The Asian Yellow-Legged Hornet - Vespa velutina - has rampaged through France and for the last three years has occupied Jersey in the Channel Islands, threatening to invade mainland Britain using any means possible.
Several nests were found and destroyed in 2019 near the south coast of England, but we cannot be certain that others went unnoticed. This insect presents a clear and present danger to honeybees especially, with beekeepers in France losing about one in three of their hives every year to this pest. It will also cause big problems for other bees and other insects, as it has a voracious appetite and a talent for hunting down its prey.
Beekeepers will be very much on the front line in the battle to keep V. velutina out of this country, as we are likely to be the first to spot it. Do familiarise yourselves with its appearance and behaviour, and educate others so that we stand the best chance of intercepting it before it becomes established.
Visit http://ahat.org.uk for some excellent photos, which will help you distinguish it from similar-looking insects. If you can spare some time, join your local AHAT and learn how to trap and track it to its nest.
(For some reason, the AHAT link has been sending to the wrong site. it should go to ahat.org.uk )