There has been a recent huge increase in the number of Asian Hornets nests discovered in Kent.
There have been more than a dozen new sightings confirmed and 17 nests destroyed in Kent – as the invasive species continues to threaten bee colonies.
Out of 39 sightings across the whole country, thirty of those sightings have been in Kent, with seven in Folkestone. Of 17 sightings confirmed in the latest Department for Environment Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) update, 13 were from the Kent area.
Most recently in Kent, nests have been discovered and destroyed in Tenterden, Lower Herne, Deal, Maidstone, Dover, West Downs, and Folkestone.
Autumn is the peak season for Asian hornet but previous sightings have been in September and October
The invasive species are larger than our native hornets and they prey on honey bees. They can wipe out entire colonies – which could have devastating consequences for bee populations and crop production in the UK for years to come. A single Asian hornet – described as the “lion of the insect world” – can devour up to 50 honey bees at a time. One hornet nest can contain up to 6,000 workers and 350 queens.
The British Beekeepers’ Association (BBKA) is so concerned about the possibility of Asian hornets becoming established in the UK they have launched an advertising campaign on the side of buses, calling on the public to help root out the pest.
They were first sighted in the UK at Tetbury, Gloucestershire in September, 2016. Since then, as of 18th September 2023, there have been 62 confirmed sightings including a total of 58 nests discovered, all of which were destroyed.
A list of all confirmed Asian hornet sightings – and action taken – can be found here.