NEW FOREST residents have been urged to report sightings of Asian hornets after one was spotted in New Milton last week.
The invasive insect is not a risk to humans but is a major threat to bees and other pollinators that it eats, and can cause a big drop in honey production.
The issue was raised at a full meeting of New Forest District Council by Cllr Ian Murray, who asked the administration if it was aware of the problem.
Cllr Murray said: “One Asian hornets’ nest can destroy whole colonies of bees in a very short time. Does the council have a plan?”
As reported in the A&T, an Asian hornet queen was confirmed in New Milton by the National Bee Unit, which in September last year also found and destroyed a nest in Brockenhurst.
Cllr Alison Hoare, NFDC’s cabinet member for environment and regulatory services, warned of the potential “devastation” to bee colonies, and said information had been posted on the council’s website and Facebook page.
She said: “Residents can call NFDC’s pest control and they will go out and help them. We have done as much as we can.
“People should not panic but should do what they can. We have a large beekeeping population in the Forest and it would be a huge shame if they were destroyed.”
The Asian hornet is smaller than the UK’s native hornet. They have yellow-tipped legs with a dark brown or black velvety body and a yellow or orange band on the fourth segment of abdomen.
To report a sighting, email firstname.lastname@example.org or use the iPhone and Android app Asian Hornet Watch. Information should include location, date and number of Asian hornets, plus a photo if possible.
To find out more, visit www.nationalbeeunit.com.