Hornets threaten our bees.

The Asian Hornet which is establishing a foothold in the UK and killing bees. People are being asked to look out for it and St Albans and District beekeepers association want you to help. We spoke to Julian Griffiths from the association about what we can all do.

Related website : https://stalbansbees.org/home/

This is a computer generated transcript of this audio item

Nick Hazell (00:02.055)
Now with us this morning is Julian Griffiths. Julian is a member of the St Albans and District Beekeepers Association. Julian’s here to talk to us a bit about a foreign invader but first of all before we get on to that Julian what got you into beekeeping in the first place?

Julian Griffiths (00:19.742)
To be honest, it was my wife’s fault. That was a very dangerous place to start, but she told me I needed a hobby that wasn’t work. And it was the noise that got me started. I went along to an open day and the sound when you open a beehive, and it’s full of happy buzzing bees, and it was very much that sound that got me hooked.

Nick Hazell (00:32.011)

Nick Hazell (00:46.135)
Okay, now what’s beatkeeping like? Is it pretty much full on all year round? Are you constantly having to do things with the hives?

Julian Griffiths (00:55.766)
This time of the year the beekeeping season is really starting and perhaps this year starting early because it’s quite warm and we’ve had quite a warm winter. So it does get quite intense up until, if we’re really lucky, a spring crop of honey, May-Junish. And then another one in the autumn.

and early autumn for the bees to be honest, they’re looking at going to bed for the winter, so to speak, about August, September. So then the season ends and all we really need to do is make sure everybody’s beehive is the right way up and they’ve got enough food and that sort of thing for the winter.

Nick Hazell (01:36.811)
Okay, all right. Now we’re talking about some threats to bees. I think most people now understand the importance of bees in our ecosystem. In fact, they’re vital to human beings, aren’t they? But there’s a bit of a threat on the horizon that you’re trying to raise awareness of. Tell us about that.

Julian Griffiths (01:53.73)
Well this is the Asian Hornet that’s arrived on our shores. That actually appeared first in Europe in southwest France all the way back in 2004.

Julian Griffiths (02:07.046)
And our difficulty with this is that initial nest has spread north through Europe and France had about half a million nests last year. And the reason why it’s so important is hornets are carnivorous. They eat other insects and they particularly like honeybees. If they find a hive, each hornet will eat 50 or 60 bees a day.

Nick Hazell (02:30.559)

Julian Griffiths (02:32.966)
Well, while that doesn’t really sound that much, a full-size Asian hornet nest in the summer will be around 6,000 hornets. So depending on your maths, they can pretty easily wipe out a hive in one day and obviously have a huge impact on all our insects and other pollinators as well.

Nick Hazell (02:51.579)
Right, so these really are unwelcome creatures and they’ve made it to the UK now have they?

Julian Griffiths (02:57.75)
They have. Since our first detection, which was all the way back in 2016, the UK’s had 101 sightings of the Asian Hornet and we’ve destroyed 85 nests. The problem that we’ve got is that 101 sightings since 2016, 78 of those sightings were last year.

Nick Hazell (03:21.043)
Oh, right, okay, so this is deadly serious. So what do you want people to do? How can people help to find these hornets and help bees?

Julian Griffiths (03:33.494)
Well, largely we’re asking the public to keep a lookout and to report any sightings. And there are two ways of doing that. I guess the first one is that if you see something that you think looks like an Asian Hornet, there is an Asian Hornet Watch app available from your favourite app store. It’s got pictures that will help you identify the thing you’re looking at to make sure it is an Asian Hornet. And it has the facility to record and send a report from the app.

video certainly helps to make sure it is the Asian Hornet but even if you are trying to take a picture or a video please do be careful these Hornets do sting.

Nick Hazell (04:11.667)
Yeah. Okay. So you, so give us the name of that app again.

Julian Griffiths (04:17.986)
It is the Asian Hornet watch app.

Nick Hazell (04:21.435)
And if you do report them, you send a photo and it does turn out to be a hornet, presumably then that kicks off a series of actions, does it, to get rid of the nest.

Julian Griffiths (04:31.566)
It does indeed. The National Bee Unit will send out a team to track the hornets back to the nests and to try to prevent the spread of those.

You might also like