Killer Asian hornets in the UK

Asian-Hornet-killing-bee

Asian Hornet, Vespa velutina.

We need everyone to be on the look out for this invasive species that was somehow introduced to France and is now spreading rapidly. There are major concerns and a high possibility that it could come to the UK in soil, plants, imported trees, fruit, flowers, in freight containers or even in peoples vehicles. A mated queen can spawn an army extremely quickly so it is essential that any sightings are reported immediately with a photo if possible to alert_nonnative@ceh.ac.uk before the species can get established. Look out for its distinctive almost entirely dark abdomen and ‘bee’ (sorry couldn’t resist) careful.

Threat to British honey Bees

One of the biggest threats that the Asian Hornet poses is its ability to kill our honey bees. A single Asian Hornet has the ability to kill 40-50 bees a minute and a group of them can kill tens of thousands in hours. In Asia the native bees have developed a clever strategy for dealing with the hornets. They allow a hornet scout into the hive giving it a false sense of security. They then surround the hornet in a ball and vibrate their flight muscles, which raises the temperature and carbon dioxide levels within the ball of bees to levels the bee can withstand but just above those that the hornet is able to.

The hornet dies, most of the bees survive and of course the hornet is not able to go back to its own hive and notify the other hornets of the bees location.

Asian Hornet size comparison

Humans are not safe either, the Asian hornets are far more aggressive than their European cousins and their 6mm stinger injects a potent venom (made up of 8 chemicals) into its victim. They can sting multiple times and the venom can cause death swiftly by Anaphylactic Shock.

Result of an Asian Hornet attack
Result of an Asian Hornet attack

See below video of Asian Hornet attack on Bee hive and the bees revenge

 

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