If you suspect that you have a hornet nest in or around your property, please contact experienced and accredited specialists about treatment, which is frequently nest relocation rather than eradication.
However, if bees within a nest or hive are decreasing in number or appear to be under threat from what looks like a large wasp or hornet, this could be an Asian hornet which, unlike the native species poses a significant threat.
It is imperative that you seek immediate expert advice. Search “pest control near me” and employ a firm like Pest Control Berkshire, who also cover neighbouring counties, to ensure effective hornet pest control, relocation and where necessary, to confirm sightings of the Asian hornet so that the National Bee Unit and DEFRA can initiate surveillance in the area.
Early autumn is the peak time for sightings of the Asian hornet (Vespa Velutina) from Asia; although they’re active between April and November.
Asian hornets arrived in France in 2004 and were first spotted in the British Isles in 2016. In spring 2018 an Asian hornet was discovered in Lancashire and in September 2018, an Asian hornet sighting was confirmed near Fowey in Cornwall.
Asian hornets have a devastating effect on native insects and the bee population because they feed on them. They hover in front of hives and when a bee is sighted the Asian hornet first bites its head off and then eats the rest of the body in a practice called hawking. One Asian hornet can eat up to fifty bees in one day.
Scientists at the University of Exeter have been testing the capabilities of miniscule tracking devices to follow Asian hornets back to a nest to aid pest control and bee population numbers according to the British Pest Control Association. This has yet to be adopted but could prove invaluable.
Native hornets are of the European (Vespa Crabro) species.
They’re approximately double the size of wasps, up to 4cm in length, and are yellow and brown; the common wasp is black and yellow. The Asian hornet is slightly smaller than the European species.
They nest in hollow trees, bird boxes, outbuildings, in the eaves or attic space.
They are less aggressive than wasps, but their sting is more painful. They can sting repeatedly.
Early in the year, native hornets will feed their larvae on the protein sources available, grubs, grasshoppers, caterpillars and dead bees for example. By late summer and in to autumn they tend to seek sugary sustenance which can see them invading beehives to take advantage of the honey within.
They also feed on sap from several varieties of tree including ash and oak.
Hornets become distracted by lights, rather like moths. Bright colours attract them.
Please do not approach a hornet nest; at its peak one nest can contain 600-700 hornets.
Native wasp nests are rarely eradicated.
Native bees need us to be proactive about hornet pest control; especially for Asian hornet suspected sightings. Please search “pest control near me.” Be prepared.