For immediate release 

The British Beekeepers Association (BBKA) is holding its fourth Asian Hornet Week 5-11 September and asking the public to download a new version of the free Asian Hornet Watch app on their phones. 

Autumn is typically when the nests of the Asian Hornet are revealed by leaf fall from  trees or bushes. 

The app designed by the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology says Asian Hornets are often confused with similar species and it has an expanded gallery of pictures allowing you to compare what you might be seeing. They have added a Median Wasp and a Dark Giant Horsefly to the gallery as well as some shots of Asian Hornet nests. 

The nest pictured above  in a tree on the island of Jersey was found by tracking a hornet back to the nest that had a Radio Frequency tag attached. The yellow arrow shows the tagged individual. You can also see the sealed cells of developing larvae. 

Since our last awareness week two nests were found in October 2021 in Hampshire and Berkshire and destroyed and this year in April a single hornet was captured at Felixstowe, and there has been a 'compelling' report of another single hornet found near Chelmsford. 

The two late season nests illustrate how “under the radar” these hornets can be as neither nest was known about until the capture of an individual hornet followed by flight tracking back to the nest by National Bee Unit inspectors. 

Gene testing showed that both nests and the individual captured in Felixstowe had come from Europe. 

Asian Hornets have big nests and are voracious consumers of honeybees and many other insects too. They hang around in front of hives ( called ‘Hawking’) and pick off the honeybees as they emerge. They make life so difficult for the honeybees that they stop collecting enough food or simply get eaten as they return and the ecosystem of the hive breaks down. 

That’s why we are pleading with you to download the free app in case that big insect you spot on your favourite bush, that you do not recognise, is one of them. Take a picture of it on your phone but don’t get too close or you might spook them, and then go to the app to check whether you should upload it to make a report. 

You can find links to the app for iPhone and Android on our website here

See It! Snap It! Send It! 

If you find a nest do not approach it, stay at least 20 metres away and take a picture. It is crucial you report any possible sightings so experts can take quick and effective action to eradicate Asian hornets. If you haven’t downloaded the app then send your photos and videos here


Notes for editors: If you would like to interview an expert from the BBKA please contact our Press Officer Diane Roberts [email protected] or call 078412-625797