What’s the Status of Yellow Legged Asian Hornet in mainland UK?

Currently the number of confirmed sightings this year to end of May is 15 YLAH, all in Kent and E Sussex (in 2023 there were just 3 sightings in the same period). In 2023 there were 72 nests identified and destroyed, too early in the year to have any figures for this year. DNA analysis of the captured hornets found this year indicates that for the first time a YLAH queen has over-wintered in the UK.

We are currently in the prevention stage which the focus on eradication to try and stop YLAH becoming an established invasive species.

The programme is being managed centrally by the Non Native Species Secretariat of DEFRA using NBU resources. Currently the 2 main activities are:

·       Queen Trapping in Spring – April thru May

·       Monitoring & trapping workers & destroying secondary Nests – August thru September

Where a YLAH is sighted, usually reported by the AH app, this is verified centrally by the NBU and they will contact the nearest local beekeeping coordinator to dispatch a verifier to check on the sighting. Queens are normally trapped and killed and sent off for DNA analysis. When a worker sighting is confirmed NBU local bee inspectors will become involved and begin monitoring to track and find the nest site. This involves saturating the area with traps and releasing trapped workers to find the nest site. This is not easy and may take a few days or up to a week. After the NBU locates a nest, they destroy it and then monitor for Asian hornets until no hornets are seen for 5 consecutive days. If Asian hornets continue to be caught, monitoring continues to check if another nest is present.

Please Report Asian Hornet Sightings via the National Bee Unit App – see links below