Monday, 15 February 2016

Trapping Asian Hornets

You would be forgiven for thinking that people that keep bees would be concerned about the environment and the general well being of all creatures. Sadly this is often not the case; indeed many bee keepers make a living as so called pest destroyers.

Anyway as they say “The road to Hell is paved with good intentions” and in this case bee keepers, bee keeping groups and other wildlife groups have been extolling the virtues of trapping Asian Hornets, especially in the early spring when the new queens are coming out of hibernation without thinking or considering the repercussions.

The traps that are usually based on the principle of a plastic bottle with a small entrance, often the inverted neck of the bottle, are suspended with a quantity of attractant added. There are various mixtures used but Brown beer, Cider and Cherry syrup mixes seem to be favoured, the argument being that this won’t attract honey bees. It will however attract European Hornets and our native social wasps which are suffering enough already and generally in decline even if you may not think so if you are at place where people are congregating to eat and consume sugary drinks in summer. Of course other insects and flies will also be drawn to the traps and suffer an unnecessary slow death. All of this shows a remarkable ignorance of the current situation of insects decline that is having a devastating effect on our wildlife. 

Of course there are selective ways to kill Asian Hornet Queens in the early spring but they require a little effort, but in my opinion that effort is well worth while if it means protecting our native species.

In early spring Bee keepers or individuals can try to kill as many Asian Hornet Queens as possible by hand. They will be easily lured to the slightest scent of honey and I find swatting them with a plastic tennis racket is the easiest method and we can then avoid killing European Hornets and other wasps.