No. 1: Remain Vigilant

In September time Asian hornets were hawking on other insects on the ivy.  As we are out and about keeping ourselves fit at this time of year, this is an opportunity to remain vigilant that may appeal more than sitting staring at hives or bait. 

No. 2: Map out your Local Area

Scrutinise a map of your own area and see what fields/other places of uncertain ownership are in your vicinity. Make/ local enquiries now. If there is an Asian Hornet sighting and the need to start tracking down nests, you will know at once who to ask for permission to walk over their land and place bait stations.

Enquiries can be prioritised: land that is particularly helpful for tracking efforts is anything with an open aspect, preferably a bit elevated, so that as hornets leave your station you can watch them with binoculars and may even see them descend into a specific tree. The further you can observe a flight line, the more accurate your triangulation with two other stations will be. That can cut days off a search. 

No. 3: Advance your Efforts

An A4 Google Earth picture of an area where there has been a hornet sighting can be used for nest tracking, but A3 makes the job easier. 

Enquire who has A3 printers locally, and who would print for you if you emailed them a map.  The trees etc visible on Google Earth make tracking much easier than it would be with a regular OS map.

(Note of caution:  if you use a compass or mobile phone to take the bearing of the flight, don't use your car bonnet as a table for your nice big A3 map - it makes the compass needle point in the wrong direction!  Maybe it is better, with a good map, to accurately plot your position on it, then draw the line of a bearing using landmarks alone. This is open for debate.)

Autumn attractions for food

Autumn flowering camellias

Goat willow Salix caprea – licking at the honeydew and taking wasps that are doing the same.  Would they also take willow aphids which are comparatively large, numerous and would make a tasty snack for a growing larva?  Maybe they would like the same plant in spring?

Fennel plants with their seeding heads - so a plant to keep a watchful eye on.