It's Invasive Species Week 2017
27 March 2017
From March 27 – April 2 organisations across Britain are coming together for Invasive Species Week, to raise awareness of invasive non-native species and inspire people to take action to prevent their spread. Visit the website www.nonnativespecies.org/invasivespeciesweek for more information and to #getINNSvolved!
Follow Invasive Species Week on social media by keeping an eye on @CheckCleanDryGB and #InvasivesWeek.
Innovative new app for Asian Hornet sightings
27 March 2017
People will be able to use the free app - called Asian hornet watch - to quickly and easily report possible sightings of the invasive species and send pictures of suspect insects to experts at the National Bee Unit.
Download Asian hornet water for android or iPhone here.
While Asian hornets pose no greater risk to human health than a bee, they are a threat to our native honey bees, which is why it is important to quickly contain them.
By using the eyes and ears of smartphone users, we can more quickly identify any Asian hornet nests in the UK and eradicate them before they have the opportunity to spread.
Biosecurity Minister Lord Gardiner said:
“This innovative new app is designed to be easy to use and allows people to report quickly any possible sightings of Asian hornets, which will help us to halt their spread.
This invasive species poses a threat to our native honey bees and we must do all we can to encourage vigilance - this new technology will advance this.”
The interactive app, developed by the Great Britain Non-native Species Secretariat and the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, will also make it easier for people to judge whether an insect may actually be an Asian hornet; with pictures available of other insects that it could be confused with and helpful information about their size, appearance and the times of year they are most likely to be spotted.
If there is a sighting of the Asian hornet, the government’s well established protocol for eradicating the species will kick quickly into action: This was the case in Gloucestershire last Autumn, when bee inspectors rapidly tracked down and destroyed an Asian hornet nest, containing any further outbreak: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/asian-hornet-outbreak-contained-in-gloucestershire-and-somerset
There are fears the pest could reappear this spring, so members of the public are being urged to report any sightings quickly to again allow inspectors to intervene. Asian hornets can be distinguished from their native counterparts by their abdomens, which are entirely dark except for a single band of yellow – native hornets’ abdomens are predominantly yellow.
Martin Smith, Public Affairs Manager at the British Beekeepers’ Association, said:
"This new app launched today by Defra is a welcome addition to current reporting methods that have enabled beekeepers and members of the public to report possible sightings. The key to containment is catching outbreaks as early as possible and allowing fast tracking of the insects back to their nest. We will certainly be encouraging all our 25,000 beekeepers to install the app and use it if they see what might be an Asian hornet near their hives."
Asian hornets arrived in France in 2004 and have since spread across large areas of Western Europe. It was discovered for the first time in the British Isles in Jersey and Alderney last summer.
The native European hornet is a valued and important part of our wildlife, and queens and nests of this species should not be destroyed.
UK Government makes commitment towards achieving the Honolulu Challenge
21 December 2016
Specifically, this involves a commitment of £1 million towards developing comprehensive biosecurity for the Overseas Territories by providing them with access to UK expertise on risk analysis, pathway management, pest identification, horizon scanning, contingency planning, rapid response capability and species management. The Government also commits to making a £1.75 million contribution to the eradication of mice from Gough Island to save the critically endangered Tristan albatross and Gough bunting as well as other threatened species on the World Heritage site.
Read more about the Honolulu challenge here: https://www.iucn.org/theme/species/our-work/invasive-species/honolulu-challenge-invasive-alien-species/commitments