Update from National Bee Unit confirms finding of Asian hornet

October 2016 – A confirmed finding of Asian hornet north of the Mendip Hills in Somerset

As with the first sighting, work to find, destroy and remove any nests is already underway, and includes:

• setting up a three mile surveillance zone around the location of the initial sighting
• opening a local control centre to coordinate the response
• deploying bee inspectors across the area who will use infrared cameras and traps to locate any nests
• readying nest disposal experts who will use pesticides to kill the hornets and destroy any nests

Bee inspectors in Somerset will be supported by nest disposal experts who will use an approved pesticide to destroy any hornets and remove any nests.

The first Asian hornet confirmed in the UK was discovered in the Tetbury area. A nest in the area has since been found, treated with pesticide and destroyed. No further live Asian hornets have been sighted in the area since the nest was removed.

Husbandry advice:

It is very important that beekeepers remain vigilant and monitor their apiaries and surrounding forage for any Asian hornet activity. At this time of the year, Asian hornets can be seen foraging on the ivy for nectar and preying on other foraging insects for protein.

Traps should also be hung out and closely monitored. When using bait, please refrain from using light beer or lager mixed with sugar as this does not work. In France a dark beer, mixed with 25ml of strawberry syrup and 25ml of orange liqueur has proven to work well.

Additionally, a protein bait of mashed fish e.g. prawns or trout, diluted to 25% has also proven effective. Anyone wishing to make their own traps may find the following factsheet useful: How to make a homemade Asian hornet monitoring trap.

Further guidance on identifying the Asian hornet can be found on the Asian hornet pages of Beebase where you will find a very useful Asian hornet ID sheet and Asian hornet poster. Any suspected Asian hornet sightings should be reported to alertnonnative@ceh.ac.uk.

If you are not sure, please still send in a sample for ID or report any sightings. When emailing, please include your name, the location of the sighting and if possible, a photograph of the hornet. Please do not put yourself in any danger of getting stung when trying to take a photo.

First published on National Bee Unit (NBU) news stories. Please visit the NBU website regularly for important updates for beekeepers.

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Bee inspector advice on usage of oxalic acid and MAQs

Ealing member Brian Mitchison recently received advice from National Bee Unit Regional Bee Inspector Julian Parker on the use of OXALIC ACID if you’ve used MAQs strips. 

“It is unwise for beekeepers to use oxalic acid treatments if they have already treated the same (winter) bees with formic acid (MAQS – Mite Away Quick Strips) as this would effectively be a double dose of organic acid. It matters little that one is formic and the other oxalic – the method of action is the same and a second application of either applied to the same winter bees risks high adult bee mortality through a double dose of organic acid burning the bees. The bees can only tolerate so much acid treatment before it burns them lethally, much like the mites. Queen loss would also be a concern.

Any treatments applied to a colony should be recorded on a veterinary medicines record card as bees are considered to be food-producing livestock.”

Julian Parker
Regional Bee Inspector, South Eastern England, National Bee Unit

The Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) regularly review their position regarding bee medicines and treatments. While this is currently the correct interpretation of their guidance, it may change as other products come to the market. Please keep updated on current usage and guidance on the VMD website.

Story sent by Brian Mitchison.