Hornet Strategy 2020
After what appeared to be a successful launch to spring queening in 2019 and a big decline in secondary nests the decision has been made to continue with spring queening this year. The first Asian hornets appeared in 2017 with a queen located in March in the Vale and 2 nests found that year. It is also believed that a nest was missed that year, somewhere around Guernsey candles. This was based on the location of queens found the following year, as in low population densities queens don’t need to move far from the original nest site. In 2018 four queens were located and 8 secondary nests. It didn’t appear that any nests were missed that year, but due to the location of a nest near St Peters Church which couldn’t be treated or removed due to its location, and which was blown out of the tree during gales it appears to have dispersed numerous queens. In 2019 nine queens were caught across the island, seven of which were in traps set up as part of spring queening. One primary nest was located as well as two secondary nests later in the year. It is hopeful that no nests were missed, but only time will tell.
The other Channel Islands are having mixed results. Alderney had 1 nest in 2016, 2 nests in 2017, 55 queens caught in the spring of 2018 as well as 8 secondary nests, and in 2019 they caught 6 queens and have found only 2 secondary nests. This is the largest reduction in hornets on any of the islands. Sark had 1 nest in 2017, 3 queens and 1 nest in 2018 and 10 queens and 1 nest in 2019. Of these 10 queens found in Sark 7 were in traps put out for spring queening. Herm appear to have been untouched at present. Jersey are the worst affected. In 2016 they had 4 nests, in 2017 they had 17 nests, in 2018 they had 4 queens, and 52 nests and in 2019 they had 69 queens and 83 nests. These are, to the best of our knowledge, as the original records coming out of Jersey vary depending on who you are talking to. Jersey have already had their first queen hornet this year. As you can see most of the islands are starting to see a levelling out in numbers or a decrease. We believe this could be due in part to spring queening and it will be interesting to see how Sark’s numbers go this year as they have been doing spring queening and tracking. Jersey appear to be the only island at the moment where numbers are significantly on the increase and what the reasons for this increase we can only speculate about. We will be contacting volunteers again shortly to roll out spring queening so please watch this space.
A big thank you to everyone who has been trapping and looking out for hornets, with a little look and a lot of help we may be able to reduce the spread of this invasive threat.
President Guernsey Beekeepers’ Association
Field & Research Officer (Asian Hornet Strategy)
Agriculture, Countryside and Land Management Services States of Guernsey