The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has confirmed the first record of the invasive Asian Hornet, Vespa velutina, on the UK mainland. The species is a threat to honeybee colonies as they predate honeybees and have the potential to destroy nests.
The species is already widespread in France and reached the Channel Islands over the summer. Two hornets have now been spotted in the Tetbury area of Gloucestershire, and attempts are underway to discover any nests in the area, whilst DNA testing is being used to discover the route by which they have arrived in the UK.
More information can be found here: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/sep/20/threat-honeybees-asian-hornet-arrival-uk-confirmed-defra-invasive-species.
Information on how to identify Asian Hornets, and the species response plan can be found at the GB non-native species secretariat information portal. Anyone who thinks they have seen an Asian hornet should photograph it if possible and report the sighting via the online recording form on the GB non-native species secretariat website.