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Rising Threat of Asian Hornets Worries UK Beekeepers



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The National Bee Unit is actively working to combat the increasing menace posed by Asian hornets in the UK, with particular concern highlighted in Kent, where a record number of sightings took place in 2023. The destruction of 72 nests in 56 locations last year underscores the urgency of the situation.

The British Beekeepers Association reported a recent find of an Asian hornet inside a potting shed in Ash, located near Sandwich, raising alarms due to its proximity to a nest discovered and eliminated near Canterbury in the previous year. This discovery, coupled with a sighting in Folkestone in April, emphasizes the persistent threat beekeepers face.

Surpassing 100 sightings since 2016, with 56 occurring just in 2023, the presence of Asian hornets continues to be a focal point for the National Bee Unit and local authorities. The distinctive features of Asian hornets, including dark bodies, wide orange stripes, and yellow leg ends, make them recognizable but also serve as a warning sign for their potential impact on local ecosystems.

Recently, The Wildlife and Countryside Link issued a warning linking recent flooding and rising temperatures to the proliferation of invasive species like Japanese Knotweed, Giant Hogweed, and Himalayan Balsam, exacerbating the challenges faced by environmental conservationists and authorities.

In response to the mounting threats from invasive species, government departments including Defra and the Invasive Species Inspectorate are intensifying efforts to protect native biodiversity and curb the economic losses associated with these intruders. The cooperation between agencies and public vigilance are crucial steps in safeguarding the UK’s natural habitats.

Follow the latest updates on Asian hornets and other environmental issues in Kent by staying tuned to BBC Kent on various platforms and channels for comprehensive coverage and expert insights.

Rachel Adams

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