Monday saw the launch of a new smartphone app 'Asian hornet watch' which is aimed to help members of the public to identify and report sightings of the Asian hornet. People will be able to use the free app to quickly and easily report possible sightings of the invasive species and send pictures of suspect insects to experts at the Centre of Ecology and Hydrology, Nonative Species Secretariat and National Bee Unit.
The Asian hornet, aka, the yellow legged hornet are a huge threat to our native honey bees, which is why it is important for us to remain vigilant.
Biosecurity Minister Lord Gardiner said:
“This innovative new app is designed to be easy to use and allows people to report quickly any possible sightings of Asian hornets, which will help us to halt their spread".
“This invasive species poses a threat to our native honey bees and we must do all we can to encourage vigilance - this new technology will advance this.”
The interactive app, developed by the Great Britain Non-native Species Secretariat and the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, will also make it easier for people to judge whether an insect may actually be an Asian hornet; with pictures available of other insects that it could be confused with and helpful information about their size, appearance and the times of year they are most likely to be spotted.
If there is a sighting of the Asian hornet, the government’s well established protocol for eradicating the species will kick quickly into action: This was the case in Gloucestershire last Autumn, when bee inspectors rapidly tracked down and destroyed an Asian hornet nest, containing any further outbreak: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/asian-hornet-outbreak-contained-in-gloucestershire-and-somerset
Additional information on the hornet is available from our website: http://www.nationalbeeunit.com/index.cfm?pageid=208
where you will find an ID sheet, poster and information on additional routes to report any suspect sightings.
For more information on the Non Native Invasive Species week visit the Non native Species Secretariat website: http://www.nonnativespecies.org//index.cfm?sectionid=132