The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) and Animal and Plant Health Agency have asked beekeepers and members of the public to remain vigilant after an Asian hornet was spotted in the Gosport area of Hampshire.
The National Bee Unit has confirmed the sighting and monitoring is underway to detect any other Asian hornets in the vicinity.
The Asian hornet is smaller than our native hornet and poses no greater risk to human health than our native wasps and hornets. However, they do pose a risk to honeybees and work is already underway to monitor for any hornet activity and to identify any nests nearby.
This is the first confirmed UK sighting since October 2019, when two related nests were detected and destroyed near Christchurch in Dorset.
Nicola Spence, Defra’s chief plant and bee health officer, said: “By ensuring we are alerted to possible sightings as early as possible, we can take swift and effective action to stamp out the threat posed by Asian hornets. That’s why we are working at speed to locate and investigate any nests in the area following this confirmed sighting.
“While the Asian hornet poses no greater risk to human health than other wasps or hornets, we recognise the damage they can cause to honeybee colonies and other beneficial insects.”