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Review of potential detection methods and control options for Asian Hornet - PH0524

The ‘Asian hornet’ Vespa velutina nigrithorax is an invasive species which arrived in France in 2004 and has spread rapidly since. It is a highly effective predator of insects including beneficial species such as the honey bee. It has recently reached the northern coast of France and there is considered to be a high risk of Asian hornet arriving in the UK. The Asian hornet is a threat to honey bees and other native species.
If the Asian Hornet arrives in the UK, nest detection and destruction are the only effective means of control and preventing this species establishing in the UK. There is a Contingency Plan which will be implemented in the event that Asian Hornet should arrive in the UK. The objectives of this plan include (i) early detection of the hornet; (ii) interception and preventing establishment and (iii) nest destruction to eradicate localised outbreaks.
A single fertilised Asian Hornet female produces a founder nest early in the season leading to the first generation of adults which then go onto generate a colony with several thousand offspring. Mature nests are large and distinctive but the early founder nests offer the greatest potential for control. Identification and destruction of these founder nests would be an ideal means of severely reducing the population levels of hornets. However the founder nests can be found in a variety of places and are difficult to detect. At present detection of an Asian Hornet outbreak in the UK is dependent on visual identification by beekeepers, bee inspectors and members of the public. This is most likely to happen when there are larger numbers of hornets flying which would be later in the season when nests are already well established. Evidence suggests, however, that our best chance of successful eradication is if nests are found and destroyed early in the year, when Asian hornet nests are extremely unlikely to have released new queens.
1.Review methods and technologies which could be used to detect Asian hornet nests.
2.Gather information from expert contacts particularly those dealing with Asian hornet outbreaks in France to get up to date information about both successful and unsuccessful approaches for detection and control.
3.Investigate other control methods such as ‘lure and kill’ traps.
4.Prepare a final report with an assessment of the ‘readiness for use’ of the various detection and control options and include comparison with the methods proposed in the current contingency plan.
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2016

To: 2016

Cost: £17,575
Contractor / Funded Organisations
Bee Pests              
Fields of Study
Plant Health