Asian Hornets spotted in UK as government issues grim warning for British bees

Asian hornets have been sighted in the UK, with beekeepers and members of the public asked to remain vigilant over the sightings, the government has warned.

The National Bee Unit confirmed the Asian hornet sightings in the Rayleigh area of Essex, with monitoring underway to detect further Asian hornets in the vicinity.

It marks the first confirmed sighting of the Asian hornet in the UK since April 2022, and it could be bad news for British bees working hard to make honey.

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Although the Asian hornet is smaller than native hornets and pose no greater risk to human health than native wasps and bees, they do pose a major threat to worker bees.

Defra's Chief Plant and Bee Health Officer Nicola Spence said: "By ensuring we are alerted to possible sightings as early as possible, we can take swift and effective action to stamp out the threat posed by Asian hornets.

"That’s why we are working at speed to locate and investigate any nests in the area following this confirmed sighting.

"While the Asian hornet poses no greater risk to human health than other wasps or hornets, we recognise the damage they can cause to honey bee colonies and other beneficial insects.

"Please continue to look out for any Asian hornets and if you think you’ve spotted one, report your sighting through the Asian hornet app or online."

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One Asian hornet was spotted in April 2022, and a swift response to its sighting soon followed.

Asian hornets are not generally aggressive toward people but it has been noted that members of the public should take care not to disturb it or a nest of Asian hornets.

The Asian hornet will be particularly aggressive should they perceive a threat to their nest.

Those who believe they have spotted an Asian hornet are asked to attempt to safely photograph one and report the sighting on the "Asian Hornet Watch" app.

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