This webinar by John Hill was provided via The Webinarvet in April 2018.
The Asian Hornet, Vespa velutina, is a major predator of honeybees and other pollinators in the Far East including China, Malaysia and Japan . One queen was accidentally introduced to south west France in 2004. It has since rapidly spread all through France, into Germany, Italy, Belgium, Netherlands, Spain , Portugal and the Channel Islands. First nest in Britain was found in 2016 at Tetbury near Bristol and in Woolacombe in Devon in 2017. Both were destroyed. The hornet hovers around honeybee hives and snatches bees in mid air. After dismemberment, it transports the bee thorax containing the flight muscles back to its nest to feed the larvae. Honeybees are the preferred diet but it will also predate bumblebees, solitary bees, small wasps, moths and hoverflies. After an small foundation nest near the ground , they normally build a much larger nest in a high tree at least the size of a football. The hornet will aggressively defend its nest and it requires specialist teams to locate and destroy them. Beekeepers in France have found their honey production reduced by two thirds. At least six people in France have died from hornet attack, possibly through anaphylaxis. It is only a matter of time before more colonies will appear in Britain. A strategic plan is in place to locate and destroy the nests using sophisticated heat seeking drones. How long we can keep them at bay remains to be seen. They will pose yet another major threat to honeybees that are already burdened with other major pathogens such as Varroa mite.