NEWS UPDATE 27th July 2017
Well its happened the news I hoped I would not have to pass on to you but knew that inevitably I would.
Three Asian Hornets, what I believe to be female workers were caught yesterday at a property within about one hundred meters of the Torteval church and a an abandoned embryo nest of approx 4cm x 6cm was cleared by the states from a property adjacent to the church. It was discovered in a Wendy house.
The workers were caught foraging on I believe aphids on a willow so this indicates they have young to feed as they are seeking protein
The nest found was the embryo nest that the queen builds raising a few workers who then abandon this to build the larger nest high in the tree canopy nearby.
There will be a nest in the early stages of development in this area
Members who have bees in this area are being organised to look for this nest which will probably at this stage be difficult to find.
We must not let up our search as should this nest not be found and produces Queens to overwinter then we will have a very big problem next year.
So please check and refresh your traps and add the protein element such as cat meat, prawns, mashed fish etc as an encouragement. Meat, fish etc will probably need to be replaced every few days. Don’t abandon the sweet liquid entirely as the hornet gets its reward from the larvae when it returns with mashed up insects but better still if it continues to get it in your trap.
The French cocktail used in traps is Biere Brune, vin blanc, Crème de Cassis or Sirop de cassis in the ratio of 2:1:.02 (500ml:250m:l50ml. Use a Ruby beer but not light ales, bitter or stout. Avoid beers with hops and burnt malt. Biere Brune is a strong sweet malt beer but whether it is available in Guernsey I am not sure.
Also be vigilant and alert your neighbours and friends to the possibility of there being more hornets around the island. If they can reach Torteval they can be developing nests anywhere.
IMPORTANT PLEASE TAKE TIME TO READ !
By now some of you will have stopped maintaining your hornet traps having not seen any Hornet Queens through the spring but we must not allow our defences to be lowered.
It may well be that there are no hornets in the island but there just as well could be and we must maintain our guard.
In the early part of the year hornet queens build embryo nests close to ground level which reach the size of a small football. It was one of these that was found in Jersey last week and in an outhouse in Alderney last year. Workers then start the construction of a larger nest high up in trees hidden by the leaf cover and which don't show themselves until leaf fall. By then it is too late as they will have released lots of queens to hibernate over the winter.
Just Saturday afternoon a sighting was made in Sark and from the photos placed on Facebook it certainly looks like an Asian hornet.
The hornet was seen on flowers so would have been taking nectar and may not yet have a nest started so both the sweet and protein bait should be made available to them.
So we must maintain our guard and the best way we can do this is by maintaining the traps, being vigilant and if one is spotted try to capture and kill it in the freezer.
Traps may well need replenishing with proteins now if any hornets have established a nest and are feeding young they will be looking for meats.
As a refresher I attach bate instructions provided earlier in the year for your information.
Preparation of the Asian Hornet attractant
The contents of each sachet is a concentrated preparation based on plant extracts and natural ingredients. It is manufactured by Véto-pharma
Caution: The contents contain ethanol.
Keep out of the reach of children. Do not swallow Store in a dry place at room temperature.
Contents of sachet- Purified water, Ethanol, Plant extracts and natural ingredients,
1-Mix the contents of the sachet with 200cc of water and 50g of sugar.
2-Add the mixture to the trap and position in an open location, where it will be found by the hornets.
The attractant will lose its effectiveness after 3-4 weeks and needs to be replaced.
Hornet queens are looking for carbohydrates in early spring so the sweetness of the attractant is important
Other attractants that can be used in the spring and summer are Wine, vinegar and cassis Dark beer, sugar, Blackcurrant syrup Sweet Apple juice
Later on in July onwards sardine or shrimp or cat food will attract workers if nests become established
Just a couple of photos as a reminder of what they look like
PLEASE ALSO READ THE ASIAN HORNET
SECTION ON THIS WEBSITE
These are my Mark 2 Asian Hornet trap. Exactly the same as before but now the bottom of the bottle is not cut.
Before inverting the neck some foam rubber or sponge is pushed to the bottom onto that I have placed the mesh. This will prevent any insects from drowning the 5.5 mm holes near the top allow other insects to escape. The top cover is a shop bought trifle container.
The sponge absorbs the bate and provides a support for the mesh if added but not necessary as long as the foam is higher than the liquid.
These will be a lot easier to make.