Monthly Archives: March 2017

Invasive Species Week 2017

Get INNS-volved with Invasive Species week 2017 by supporting BEACON and finding out what you can do to help us control and eradicate invasive non-native species in the Bollin catchment.

You can follow BEACON’s progress with Invasive Species Week via our Facebook Page, where we will be posting lots of hints, tips and useful information.

You can also find out more about Invasive Species week on the GB Non-Native Species Secretariat website.

Asian Hornet – Vespa velutina

Asian HornetThe Asian Hornet (Vespa velutina) is the invasive non-native species to look out for at the moment.  It arrived in Britain, the first sighting being in Tetbury, last autumn, and at that time the hornets nests found in that area were successfully destroyed, and it is hoped that the population found last year has been eradicated.  However, this does not mean the war is over, even though that small battle was won.  Experts from the National Bee Unit believe that it is almost inevitable that there will be another invasion of Asian Hornets this year, and are asking the public to be vigilant.

The Asian Hornet originates from the area bordered by Northern India and China, and was first discovered in France in 2005, thought to have been transported in pottery that was imported from China.  The climate in the hornets native range is similar to that in Southern Europe, and may be the reason why is has spread rapidly.

hornets European and Asian Identification

European Hornet on the left, Asian Hornet on the right.

The Asian Hornet can potentially be a threat to people if they sting, but whilst the stings are painful, the hornets are not considered aggressive to people.  They main threat these invasive insects pose is to bees.  They predate social wasps and honeybees, and have been observed hovering over the entrance to bee hives waiting to charge and catch honeybees laden with pollen and nectar.  They eat the majority of the honeybee, and pulp the rest for larval food in the hornets own nest.  This is not good news for the honeybee, which is already under threat due to habitat loss and increase in intensive agricultural practices.  Asian Hornets also consume a wide variety of spiders and other insect prey.

 

You canhornets European and Asian Identification download a fact sheet which will enable you to identify the Asian Hornet here.

 

Advice for Beekeepers regarding this species can be found on BeeBase.

If you think you have seen an Asian Hornet please report your sighting here.

River Guardian Training Workshop

 

BEACON River Guardian TrainingBEACON held a fantastic River Guardian workshop on 25th January at Marthall Hall.  There were over 30 volunteers who attended the day-long workshop, which was a mixture of indoor desktop training, and then outdoor practical learning.

The aim of the workshop was to train volunteers, who have come from all backgrounds and levels of experience, to be able to safely take  water samples from local watercourses, and test the samples there and then using simple test kits.  These kits test phosphate and nitrate levels, pH and temperature of the water.  Volunteers then record this information and send the results to BEACON where we can analyse this information and see where problem areas are.

The day was kicked off by Terry Dudley, of the Birkin Fly Fishers, who explained the work that has previously been done by the anglers, and also students from Manchester University who took and tested water samples from various points along Birkin and Mobberley Brooks.  There is therefore already a good deal of baseline data for us to work with.

BEACON River Guardian TrainingCaroline Riley, from Healthy Rivers Trust, then spoke to the group about the importance of water quality testing, what we use the information for and how to carry out the tests themselves.  Caroline gave a practical demonstration of the equipment and test kits, and also answered questions.  Anna Gilchrist of Manchester University was also on hand to answer any tricky questions the volunteers had!

After lunch the group walked from Marthall Hall to Pedley Brook where they were all able to practice carrying out the water tests and how to accurately record the information.  A quick kick-sample was also carried out and a stickleback was found in the bottom of the brook!  The tests carried out on the brook showed low levels of both phosphate and nitrate too.

BEACON River Guardian Training

 

 

 

BEACON River Guardian Training

On returning to the Hall volunteers were encouraged to ‘Adopt and Spot’, to take and test water samples from on a regular basis, and equipment and test kits were handed out.

The day was a huge success with positive feedback received from the attendees.  People from over ten different partner organisations attending the training, as well as individual interested volunteers.  The volunteers have now ‘adopted’ 25 spots along Mobberley, Birkin and Sugar Brooks as well as along the Rivers Dean and Bollin.

BEACON River Guardian Training

If you would like to find out more about the River Guardian project, or become a River Guardian yourself please contact us here.BEACON River Guardian Training