The list of parasites, predators and diseases trying to kill my bees gets depressingly longer every year. So the following email I received from the National Bee Unit today wasn’t welcome:
Following a credible report of an Asian Hornet sighting in the South East area close to Maidstone, Kent; last week a local Bee Inspector was dispatched to carry out further field investigation.
Following this investigation, we have not been able to verify the report but we would encourage beekeepers particularly in this area to familiarise themselves with the Asian Hornet and remain vigilant when visiting their apiaries and inspecting their colonies.
The Asian Hornet sneaked into France in a shipment of Chinese pottery in 2004 and has been making its way towards our fair shores ever since. The Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle in Paris predicted that it would be in Britain by 2014 – it seems they may have been pretty close.
It isn’t all bad news, reports from France indicate that hornet traps are an excellent method of keeping the population under control and hopefully other methods will be developed as we learn to live with this pest in Europe.