Recognition of Asian Hornet is critical

By the IW Asian Hornet Team

The Island is threatened by the imminent arrival of an invasive species of yellow-legged Asian hornet (Vespa Velutina Nigrithorax). Potentially all native pollinators, and other beneficial insects, will be predated by the Asian hornet. This in turn will have an impact on biodiversity and food security, which will ultimately affect us all as we rely on pollinating insects for much of our food!

The yellow-legged Asian hornet is an extremely adaptable and aggressive insect, with no natural predators in the UK. It poses a significant threat because the native pollinators have not evolved alongside it. They do not have adequate defences and are unlikely to be able to adapt fast enough to cope with the Asian hornet’s relentless and voracious predation.

In the UK in 2023 there were 72 nests found in 56 locations, including Southampton and the New Forest. So far this year there have been four sightings of Asian hornets. It will be almost impossible to halt their spread if they establish permanent populations in the UK. So it is essential that the public are aware of and can correctly identify this non-native insect, and report all sightings so that action can be taken to locate and destroy nests. In spring the queens emerge from hibernation to build new nests.

Download the Asian Hornet Watch app to your phone and keep a look out. If you think you see an Asian hornet, take a photo, and submit it and the location via the app.

If you would like to volunteer as part of the IW Asian hornet monitoring programme (training will be given), or would like to host an awareness meeting or would like further information, please contact iow@asianhornetalert.org.uk.