Asian hornets are invasive and have been known to eat honeybees and destroy their hives. As if honeybees didn’t have enough to contend with already with the excessive use of insecticides to prevent Zika and other diseases, the first confirmed sightings of Asian Hornets on the shores of Britain are causing alarm for local species.
Image Credit: BBC
With honeybees already in distress, this threat poses a problem that could drastically impact honeybee numbers even further if the problem isn’t dealt with swiftly.
Britain says they’ve been expecting this to happen for years since the Asian hornet has already been popping up all across the European continent within the past decade, and fortunately, they’ve got plan to keep the Asian hornets at bay.
They’ve most likely migrated from France and other neighboring well-established locations. They could have flown over, been carried by the wind, or been transported into the new region where they’re now settings up nests to live in.
“We have been anticipating the arrival of the Asian hornet for some years and have a well-established protocol in place to eradicate them and control any potential spread,” said Nicola Spence, Defra Deputy Director for Plant and Bee Health.
“We remain vigilant across the country, working closely with the National Bee Unit and their nationwide network of bee inspectors,” she continued.
The plan is ultimately to locate and eradicate any Asian hornet nests as swiftly and effectively as possible. With these measures in place, it’s hoped that the number of Asian hornets in the region will be unable to grow to unsustainable amounts.
By keeping their numbers low enough, or even removing them from the region completely, they can help preserve honeybee populations. Finding and removing the queen from the equation is a critical part of this process, and it’s not going to be easy.
Related: Infographic: Can We Save the Bees?
Source: UK Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs via BBC