The National Bee Unit has confirmed a sighting of the Asian hornet in the Fowey area of south Cornwall.
This 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 identify any nests, which includes deploying bee inspectors to visit local beekeepers and setting up monitoring traps.
Previous outbreaks of the Asian hornet have been successfully contained by APHA bee inspectors who promptly tracked down and destroyed the nests. The intention is to do the same in this instance.
Nicola Spence, Defra Deputy Director for Plant and Bee Health, said:
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. Thats why we are taking swift and robust action to locate and investigate any nests in the south Cornwall areas following this confirmed sighting.
Following the successful containment of the Asian hornet incursion in North Devon last year and Tetbury previously, we have a well-established protocol in place to eradicate them and control any potential spread.
We remain vigilant across the country, working closely with the National Bee Unit and their nationwide network of bee inspectors.
Bee inspectors from APHA National Bee Unit have started carrying out surveillance and monitoring in a 1-2 km radius around the initial sighting.
If you suspect you have seen an Asian hornet you can report this using the iPhone and Android app Asian Hornet Watch or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Identification guides and more information are available.
Members of the public can also report sightings by email to email@example.com with a photo or on the Great Britain Non-native Species Secretariat website.
The Great Britain Non-native Species Secretariat is a joint venture between Defra, the Scottish Government and the Welsh Government to tackle the threat of invasive species. More information can be found on their website.
Photographs of the Asian hornet are available on our Flickr account