I will kick off the new section with news and info on the Asian Hornet

Asian Hornet (dead !)

ASIAN HORNET (VESPA VELUTINA)

 HISTORY

Origin. According to genetic analysis from Jiangsu & Zhejiang provinces of china, the asian hornet migrated across Asia & arriving in France 2014 then spreading to 80% of France to date.

DESCRIPTION

A worker asian hornet is not a large insect the worker is about 25mm long with the queen 30mm long, it has a black thorax and yellow legs, the forth band on the thorax is also yellow. Importantly it has a characteristic behaviour by which we can easily identify it. It hawks at the entrance to a beehive and catches the returning forages, usually it is facing away from the hive, and as it hovers you will see the alternate flashes of yellow and black.

LIFE CYCLE

In spring at the first sign of warm weather the first hornet worker will be emerging from the nest and this is the time when they will be searching out the protein for their larvae. Once the nest reaches a critical size it is likely to be abandoned because it is becoming too small for the colony. A much larger nest will be mostly built high in a tree, not always the case.

In late summer and early autumn, their priorities change. They start to raise queens and males and each queen has had the potential  to produce 300 new queens! Once mated the new queens look for hibernation sites where they will over winter. Any time between late January and March, depending on the weather, these new queens will emerge and start looking for a site for that first embryonic nest.

http;//www.nationalbeeunit.com

http;//www.bbka.org.uk

http;//www.nonnativespecies.org

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"ASIAN HORNET AWARE"   UPDATE No 02.12/11/18. 

The clocks have been changed, the weather has turned wintery and the new hornet queens are hopefully in hibernation

There has been 12 sightings this year a big increase! Was it caused by the good weather this Summer? Only time will tell ! 

However I will not mention Asian Hornet again until next year, as during the wnter, there will be a short interval before it all starts again. In the Spring, as each queen has had the potential this year, to produce 300 new queens, no doubt these new queens will warrent up to date news. So my fellow beekeepers be diligent and watch for any signs of their appearance in our area.

Please note :-

On Monday 11th Feb 2018  when we have at our monthly meeting, our guest speaker, Mr Dhonn Atkinson who happens to be our new Regional Bee Inspector will be giving a talk on the Asian Hornet.

I have been led to believe that Dhonn has been involved in the extermination of some of the Asian hornet nests found so far and, will be giving us what should be an informative an interesting insight into the process.

As the Asian Hornet could soon be local problem for us too, can I suggest that his talk will be something we as beekeepers should not miss!

 Please give him a good turnout.

Neville

p.s Don't forget to do your winter varroa mite treament!

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  "ASIAN HORNET AWARE"   UPDATE No 01. .8/10/18.

 

There has been two new Asian hornet nests found in new Alresford and Brockenhurst, That makes it Awareness and observation is the first line of defence.

Even though we have not seen one in our area. It does not mean they are not here. It is essential that we keep watching for them.

 Neville

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A little known of Nasty! THE CRAB SPIDER - Thomisidae Family

Who would want to be a honeybee? Not me !

Other than the well known problems facing a honeybee like varroa destructor;  EFB & AFB and potentially the Asian Hornet.

NOW there is now another recognised bee killer the white banded crab spider. While these are hardly likely to cause a colony collapse, they can steadily reduce the number of worker bees.

etc. 

This spider is an ambush predator, waiting on nectar laden flowers for up to three days for a victim . It camouflages itself to match the colour of the plant and when a juicy victim comes near it launches itself on its pre and injects it with a deadly toxin and then enjoys its meal.

Scientists have discovered new details about how a species of crab spider can slowly change its colour to match its background when hunting.

The female white banded crab spider uses its rare colour-changing ability to ambush prey, such as bees, flies and wasps, by hiding in plain sight on flowers.

While scientists have long known the arachnid could change colour, up until now researchers weren't sure why some of the species found it easier.

This species of crab spider exhibits one of the most extreme examples of sexual size dimorphism across all animals.

Females, which are the size of a 'fat kernel of corn,' are 20 times larger in mass than males.

The female white banded crab spider uses its colour-changing ability to ambush prey, such as bees, flies and wasps. 

The small males become adults prior to females and then go searching for mates through a physically complex habitat. 

Male crab spiders outnumber females and multiple suitors will gather around females close to becoming adults.

Article and photos taken with thanks from information in ‘Mail on line’ & ‘Honey bee suite’.

Article supplied by Graham Robinson..