Around 2004, the Asian or yellow-legged hornet (Vespa velutina nigrithorax) was accidentally imported into southern France from China, and it has spread through western European countries with astonishing speed. Since 2016 there have been incursions into the UK, and these are becoming more frequent as the population on the continent increases in numbers. They could establish themselves in this country at any time. Asian hornets cause two important problems for humans: they love eating bees, especially honey bees; and if a nest is accidentally disturbed they can be very aggressive.
This handbook is bursting with information, from hornet identification to up-to-date scientific findings on Asian hornet biology, behaviour and ecology. There are also sections on the spread of these insects, how they are dealt with in the UK, tracking, trapping, and other methods of control. Fascinating, readable and full of photos and illustrations, this is a book for beekeepers, naturalists and anyone interested in invasive alien species.
Dr Sarah Bunker has a PhD in insect flight and has been a beekeeper in Devon for many years. She is passionate about insects, even the stingy sort! In the summer of 2018 she gained experience tracking Asian hornets in Jersey, where beekeepers use the ‘Jersey method’ to find the hornets’ large paper nests.
When she returned to the UK, she felt compelled to write this practical handbook to inform beekeepers and others about these extraordinary insects and what can be done about them.