The National Bee Unit has today (Wednesday 3 July 2019) confirmed a sighting of an individual, female Asian hornet in New Milton, Hampshire, after it was reported by a member of the public. Based upon visual examination, the hornet is likely to be a queen.
Monitoring is underway to detect any other Asian hornets in the vicinity and local beekeepers are asked to be vigilant.
The Asian hornet is smaller than our native hornet and poses no greater risk to human health than a bee. However, they do pose a risk to honey bees and work is already underway to monitor for any hornet activity and to identify any nests which may be in the vicinity.
This is the first confirmed sighting since October 2018, when a sighting of an individual hornet was confirmed in Dungeness, Kent.
Nicola Spence, Defra Deputy Director for Plant and Bee Health, 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 New Milton area following this confirmed sighting.
While the Asian hornet poses no greater risk to human health than a bee, 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.
If you suspect you have seen an Asian hornet you can report this using the iPhone and Android app ‘Asian Hornet Watch’ or by using our online report form. Alternatively, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include a photograph.
Identification guides and more information are available and if you keep bees you should keep up to date with the latest situation and advice on our GOV.UK rolling news story.