Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
New app to report Asian hornet sightings
Asian Hornet Watch - new app launched to help people quickly and easily report sightings of this invasive species.
The nation’s smartphones are the latest weapon in the fight to prevent the spread of the Asian hornet, thanks to a new app which was on Monday.
People will be able to use the free app - called Asian Hornet Watch - to quickly and easily report possible sightings of the invasive species and send pictures of suspect insects to experts at the National Bee Unit.
While Asian hornets pose no greater risk to human health than a bee, they are a threat to our native honey bees, which is why it is important to quickly contain them.
By using the eyes and ears of smartphone users, we can more quickly identify any Asian hornet nests in the UK and eradicate them before they have the opportunity to spread.
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.
There are fears the pest could reappear this spring, so members of the public are being urged to report any sightings quickly to again allow inspectors to intervene. Asian hornets can be distinguished from their native counterparts by their abdomens, which are entirely dark except for a single band of yellow – native hornets’ abdomens are predominantly yellow.
Martin Smith, Public Affairs Manager at the British Beekeepers’ Association, said:
This new app launched by Defra is a welcome addition to current reporting methods that have enabled beekeepers and members of the public to report possible sightings. The key to containment is catching outbreaks as early as possible and allowing fast tracking of the insects back to their nest. We will certainly be encouraging all our 25,000 beekeepers to install the app and use it if they see what might be an Asian hornet near their hives.
Asian hornets arrived in France in 2004 and have since spread across large areas of Western Europe. It was discovered for the first time in the British Isles in Jersey and Alderney last summer.
The native European hornet is a valued and important part of our wildlife, and queens and nests of this species should not be destroyed.
Notes to editors
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 http://www.nonnativespecies.org/home/index.cfm
Latest News from
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Defra seeks views on expanding use of monitoring technology on fishing boats20/10/2020 11:20:00
Government to examine roll out of Remote Electronic Monitoring on fishing vessels.
Northern Irish F gas users urged to prepare for change ahead of 1 January 202116/10/2020 11:20:00
Producers, suppliers, traders and end-users will need to take action to prepare for the end of the transition period.
Environmental Land Management tests and trials: 23 Burns Farmer Group15/10/2020 11:20:00
Environmental Land Management (ELM) scheme tests and trials case study on a farmer-led group on the north-east coast of Britain.
Poultry farmers and pet bird keepers urged to prepare for winter avian flu14/10/2020 11:20:00
Poultry keepers are urged to prepare for winter avian flu and reduce the risk of disease in their birds over the winter
Government consults on new measures to boost the fishing industry and coastal communities13/10/2020 15:38:00
Package of consultations launched seeking views on opportunities for the fishing industry.
£25 million available to help farmers boost productivity08/10/2020 11:20:00
Farmers invited to apply for grants to help improve their efficiency and benefit the environment.
Natural England sets out fresh vision for our natural environment07/10/2020 11:20:00
Natural England's vision for the next five years seeks to help all children, wherever they live, to enjoy the benefits of a thriving natural environment.
Green social prescribing pilots open for applications06/10/2020 15:10:00
Applications open to deliver four ‘green social prescribing’ pilots as part of a £4.27 million project to improve mental health and wellbeing in communities hardest hit by coronavirus.