Asian hornets: an update

Remember me making fun of the hysteria over Asian hornets? Well, C. wrote to tell me that one had been found in Somerset, and since I got her email a nest has been found in Gloucestershire. It’s the size of a pumpkin. Or it was before it was destroyed.

That is, I admit, big enough to hold my attention. But the hornets themselves are not the size of lobsters. They’re smaller than British bees.

They really have crossed the channel, though, and they do pose a threat to bee colonies. C.’s husband is a beekeeper, which is why she knows about this, and why she could tell me how to protect a beehive: “I particularly like the suggested baits to put in traps,” she wrote. “As in France, ‘a dark beer, mixed with 25ml of strawberry syrup and 25ml of orange liqueur has proven to work well.’ “

You can set that out for the hornets or for the beekeeper, at your discretion.

The Independent, which reported on the newly found nest, quotes the Deputy Director for Plant and Bee Health as saying that the hornets “pose no greater risk to human health than a bee, though we recognise the damage they can cause to honey bee colonies. That’s why we are taking swift and robust action to identify and destroy any nests.”

So yes, they are a problem, but no, the world isn’t ending. Yet. And if you’re losing sleep over them, try the recipe above. It’s worked well in France.