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BBKA Stoneleigh

This page is not for public consumption - hence the relaxed lay out. It is my notes from the conference which you are welcome to look at and use as you wish.

I have found a method by which we can share large files without needing to install any extra software. I will send a link to that on a WhatsApp chat shortly.

Basically any of us can upload files to WeTransfer and then send a download link  to  the rest of us. Anything we put there will be deleted after a week automatically. There is no need to install any software on your machines.

I am looking at the software that Alistair suggested and will get back to you when I have looked into it in more detail.

Notes from Asian Hornet Conference - BBKA Stoneleigh 8th February 2020

Compere Anne Rowberry

Professor Stephen Martin
Multi mating - as in Asian Hornet and Honey Bees leads to a good genetic mix.
A hibernating queen will fold her wings under her body and it is suspected that once the hibernation of the queen is disturbed she does not return to hibernation.
The primary nest within a month of being constructed could hold up to 25 cells. The queen will produce more eggs as her ovaries develop right through to September.

There is a lot of research into ways of curtailing the development of the spread of the AH. Possibilities include predators such as the Trigonalid Wasps but the majority of predators attack the colony but do not wipe it out. They do not want to destroy their food source. (Humans do not seem to have that much sense.

Another possibility is Conopid Flies
Nematodes are another possibility but they need a secondary host and would need to find a nematode that was species specific.

In Korea the spread of the AH has not been as rapid as in France due to the competition from other hornets. Also the Korean bees, and the Greek bees, have the ability to ball the AH - that is over heat it by forming a ball of bees around it.

The AH has been found from sea level right up to 10,000 feet - versatile little bugger.

There is also research in to the Vespa Mandarinia found in Vancouver. Just arrived there and its spread is being closely monitored.

Dr Xesus Feas
See his research at

There seems to be a lot more information on the AH in Galicia than there is on the AH in France.
A search on AH Galicia does produce a lot of information.

In winter there may be hibernating queens in secondary nests which appear abandoned.
Galicia has major problems and in just 5 years the number of secondary nests has gone from 2 nests to 10,000(2016) nests by 2019 there were 25,000 nests.

The economic effect in Galicia was enormous with 65% of bee colonies affected.

Embryo nests can be found anywhere - not just sheds - back of garden chairs, in derelict cars/boats - you name it....
The Asian Hornet is not a bad insect any more than dandelions are weeds - they are just not wanted where they are.
Trapping as a way of monitoring is not advised as there is a risk that we will cause more damage through "bi-kill"or collateral damage. Far better to be ready with bait stations and monitor them.

Tree surgeons are at particular risk as running away when you are roped up a tree is not an option!

In Galicia some grape farmers have lost their complete crop of Alberino Grapes. They eat the grapes, they carry yeasts which can affect the extracted juice and they make harvesting hazardous.

There was a considerable stress on the danger to humans - especially in urban areas and there were 5 deaths from Asian Hornet in Galicia in 2019.

They are catching so many Asian Hornets that they are investigating the possible uses of the chitin (hard exoskeleton).

Alistair Christie
Reckons about 30% of primary nests become secondary nests.
The channel islands also refer to tertiary nests which are those where they have not completely removed the secondary and the buggers come back.
He sees the role of the AHAT coordinator as:
Media and Public Awareness
See Facebook John De Carteret
Work in collaboration with volunteers
Direct efforts of volunteers
Arrange removal and destruction of nests
Collate records
The role of the volunteers is divided into:
Verifiers - is it really an Asian Hornet
Tracking Directors - decide where to put the bait stations.
Trappers -
Bait Station Managers

Software to look at is
Google MyMaps

Belinda Philipson -DEFRA Policy Unit
In 2019 AHATs formed, Local Contingency Boxes assembled so that they can be rapidlty deployed to site rather than wait for them to be delivered from York.

Current process
Once there is a confirmed sighting an email is sent to local beekeepers and Beebase is updated.
RBI and/or SBI investigate the backstory and contact the AHAT coordinator and the Town Council
They then track the AH to find the nest
If necessary they will establish an FOB Forward Operating Base
Once the nest is located the the nest will be destroyed with Ficam D (Bendiocarb) that evening if possible.
The destroyed nest is then removed and taken away fo analysis.

Surveillance traps are set up and monitored.

In Tamworth the nest was 65 foot up a Spruce Tree and was the UK's highest nest. It contained a single queen mated by a single drone.
In Ashford Kent it was a single Asian Hornet found feeding on a fallen pear.
In Christchurch the initial alert was 29th September
Confirmation was 1st October
Nest was located 3rd October
Nest destroyed 4th October
2nd nest found 10metres away on 10th October
Found by a Bee Inspector who trod on it and subsequently had to be taken to hospital by ambulance.Nest destroyed 11th October

In the UK in 2019 there were 17 confirmed sightings and 9 destroyed nests. All Uk nests were unrelated - ie separate incursions. All queens found had not reached sexual maturity. There are no established populations in the UK and thus we are still in the eradication stage rather than containment.

Sandra Grey DEFRA Bee Health Policy
The Asian Hornet was legally under EU Invasive Alien Species Regulation. This has now been brought into UK law and is classified as a Non-native Alien Invasive Species.
We face greater risk in 2020 due to increasing population on the continent.

Dorset AHAT coordinators had an impromptu meeting with Sandra and Belinda, impromptu but set up by Lesley.
They seemed aware of our concerns about our working relationship with the NBU and a new document of policy is being worked on.
I expressed my concern that NBU could be alerted via the App and they could be working in Dorset and none of us knows about. I was assured that through the BBKA website the nearest AHAT coordinator would be alerted.

Anne Rowberry BBKA Trustee
The BBKA are going to set up a certification scheme for AHAT Coordinators and Volunteers. There will be multiple option test and once completed and passed we will be sent a certificate - and more importantly we will be covered by the same insurance as covers us when we are swarm collecting. This will be limited to 15 volunteers in each division.
All of this is in early days and not yet available on the website.

Why are the AH particularly attracted to resin on trees?
Polypore fungus on the tree produces a something they really like- as do many other insects.

Why do we need insurance?
In case you tread on a nest and a member of the public is stung.

What is the process of communication following a confirmed sighting?
NBU will contact AH coordinators which is why we must be on there. Once we have done the test we will be on BBKA as AHAT.
They are looking into putting AHAT coordinators onto ER2 to make communication easier.

At what point will the NBU move from destruction to containment and how will this be done?
Do not know. And there was a lot of muttering in the hall regarding working relationships.

Will there be a transitional phase when the NBU pull out?
This is something they are looking at. It will not happen within a season since processes are reconsidered over winter and then instigated the following spring.

What other work are the BBKA doing for AHATs?
They are looking at preparing an action plan for AHAT coordinators and Anne Rowberry of Somerset BKA and a BBKA Trustee praised the preparedness of Devon and Somerset.

What are the chances of keeping the Asian Hornet out of the UK?
Dr Xesus Feas - good if the government continues their support.
Bob Hogg - praised the actions of the NBU and said the Channel Islands were doomed.
Alistair Christie - play for time and hope that a solution arrives before the Asian Hornet arrives
Belinda - stay vigilant
Sandra - we are learning a lot from France.

What are the views on trapping?
Bait stations are better than traps because as Bob Hogg said- "You can ask a live Hornet where it lives".
Put 6mm holes round the killing traps (can be done by heating a 6mm drill to hot and pushing it into trap side). The holes will resrtict the collateral damage.

What about publicity material?
NNSS will supply A3 laminated posters
We should be stressing more than just the impact on bees but also on all pollinators and also humans who are stung.

Why the cluster on the Dorset Hampshire Border?
Proximity to the port. AHATs from the area are dubious of this explanation since the proximity to the port is an arc that distance from the port not a small zone.

Other ad-hoc arrangements
We are going to work with BADS and spend 2 weeks at the end of April monitoring bait stations on the Dorset Hampshire border.

Contacts made:
Peter Darley BADS
David Neil - BADS AHAT
Krysla New Forest
Belinda Philipson -DEFRA Policy Unit
Sandra Gray - NBI

Contacts not made:
Nigel Semmence was not able to be there through ill-health.

My Conclusion:
This was a very worthwhile conference and we learned a lot of new material in addition to that we had picked up at the Bridgwater Conference.
In addition we were able to have a chat to the people from the Dorset Hampshire border and arrange further action we can take.