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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.
The Asian Hornet 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. 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.
Asian hornet identification
Asian hornet biology
Emergence from hibernation
Founding - the queen builds a primary nest
Producing the first workers
The primary nest grows
The secondary nest
Food for adults
Food for larvae
Honey bee predation
Honey bee defence
Production of the sexual stages
Hibernation of the queens
Problems with invasive alien species
Effect on honey bees
Effect on European hornets
Competition among Asian hornets
Effects on humans
Asian Hornet Stings
The spread of the Asian hornet
The Asian hornet arrives in Europe
Asian hornets reach the Channel Islands
Asian hornets in the UK
A national contingency plan
The main players
Waiting ... and spotting
Dealing with an isolated incident
The 'new normal'
The birth of Asian hornet action teams
Finding Asian hornet nests
The Jersey method
Other methods of finding nests
Asian hornet colony destruction
When does a monitoring trap become a killing trap?
Monitoring without trapping
Trapping is contentious
The effect of trapping on non-target insects: the data from France
Does spring trapping reduce the number of Asian hornet colonies?
Usurpation - natural population control?
UNAF on trapping
Where others stand in France
Conclusions from French spring trapping data
Type of attractant
Trapping at different times has different results
Other insect parasites
Deformed wing virus
Selection of honey bee strains
Reduction of entrances
Thwack and zap
AHAT kit list