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Asian hornet “adds to growing number of threats to honeybees” – Warwick research on BBC

Research to help prevent the spread of Asian hornet across the UK - carried out by the University of Warwick - was recently featured on BBC Midlands Today and BBC Online.

Led by the Warwick’s Zeeman Institute for Systems Biology & Infectious Disease Epidemiology Research (SBIDER), the recent study predicts that Asian hornet – a voracious predator of honey bees and other beneficial insects – could colonise the UK within two decades.

The BBC’s David Gregory-Kumar interviewed Dr Daniel Franklin at the School of Life Sciences.

Dr Franklin commented on the threat of Asian hornet:

“It is quite bad for our honeybee populations. The European honeybee has no natural defensive strategy against Asian hornets. They’re unlikely to be wiped out completely, but it adds to a growing number of threats to honeybees and pollinators [such as] pests, disease and pesticides.

“We’re quite well-prepared to try and combat a growing population of Asian hornets, and accurate reports of where they are would be key to doing that effectively”.

The researchers simulated the likely spread of Asian hornet across the UK over a twenty-five year period, starting from a single active nest in a location near Tetbury, Gloucestershire – where the first verified nest in the UK was discovered and destroyed in 2016.

It is believed that Asian hornet first came to Europe in 2004, in an import of Chinese pottery to France. Since then, Asian hornet has spread through France to infest Italy, Spain, Portugal, Switzerland, Germany and Belgium – and was first identified in the UK in 2016.

Using recent data from the Andernos-les-Bains region in South-West France – where there has been detailed observation and destruction of Asian hornet nests during the past eight years – the researchers mapped a similar potential invasion in the UK.

The likely invasion of Asian hornet in the UK – and consequent destruction of bee populations – could be halted if beekeepers and the general public (especially in the South-West) are vigilant, and able to identify them.

Watch the full report here.

Read the BBC Online article here.

Read the original press release here.

Further information, contact:

Luke Walton, International Press Officer
+44 (0) 7824 540 863

+44 (0) 2476 150 868

L dot Walton dot 1 at warwick dot ac dot uk