There are wasps & bees & hornets a-plenty in Stara Woods, all part of the diversity of nature that enjoys the variety of woodland habitats that we try to preserve within the woods.

But there is now another one to look out for which is an invasive, non-native species which preys on our bees & other pollinators. It is the Asian Hornet, Vespa velutina and is spreading fast across Europe since it was accidently introduced to France in 2004. Since its arrival in the UK in 2016, there have been more & more sightings each year. It is a serious predator of Honey Bees

It can be controlled by trained & licenced teams who will work locally but everyone can help out by reporting any sightings.

First you need to know the difference between our own species of Hornet Vespa crabro and to see it in colour you need to look it up online. Our native Hornet has a striped, yellow abdomen like a giant wasp; the Asian Hornet is slightly smaller with a dark abdomen with just one stripe of dark yellow/orange & partly yellow legs. The easiest way is to download the free app which has all the information needed and can be used to report and photograph a sighting. Easy to check on your phone and it shows the similar species so you can compare.

And we have put posters up at Stara which we hope people will see.

Whatever you do, don’t try to kill the insect yourself because the sting is more toxic and you could attract more in to attack you! They are very aggressive. Or you could have mistaken our own Hornet for this invasive one which is not good either. Report where you’ve found it and leave the rest to the professionals.

September 2023 with thanks to the presentation organised by the South-west Lakes Trust.

Anne: You may also find this helpful:

THE ASIAN HORNET

The British Beekeepers’ Association short guide to identification

  1. Does it look very black?
  2. Has it got a wide orange stripe on 4th segment of abdomen?
  3. Do its legs look as if they have been dipped in yellow paint?