Tag Archives: invasive species

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.

Partnership working bashes balsam!

Environment Agency Bollin Valley Partnership Styal Balsam Bash

Picture by Barrie Scholes, EA

As the saying goes, ‘many hands make light work’, and this is definitely the case for anything BEACON hopes to achieve in the Bollin Catchment.  By working in partnership with other organisations, landowners and local communities we can bring together those many hands to work towards one common aim; improving our water courses and local environment for everyone to enjoy.

 

On a 6th July the Environment Agency and Bollin Valley Partnership teamed up to carry out a huge balsam bash on land owned and managed by the National Trust at Styal.  There was a really good team of 20 volunteers from the Environment Agency, made up from a number of different departments.  The weather was kind to the team and it didn’t rain for the whole event, which always makes a difference to the mood!

Environment Agency Bollin Valley Partnership Styal Balsam Bash

picture by Barrie Scholes, EA

Environment Agency Bollin Valley Partnership Styal Balsam Bash

picture by Barrie Scholes, EA

 

 

 

 

 

 

A large section of riverbank and southern woods was cleared of balsam, which complemented work done last year with a much smaller Environment Agency  team.  The National Trust were delighted with the work done as they have not had the resources to host large groups pulling balsam this year.  Huge thanks to Rachel Argyros, EA, and Emma Houghton, BVP for organising this balsam bash.

Environment Agency Bollin Valley Partnership Styal Balsam Bash

picture by Barrie Scholes, EA

Environment Agency Bollin Valley Partnership Styal Balsam Bash

picture by Barrie Scholes, EA

 

 

 

 

 

 

Both the Bollin Valley Partnership and Environment Agency would like to run this event again next year, with even more volunteers so we can really get to grips with the balsam in this area. A great example of partnership working!

 

Environment Agency Bollin Valley Partnership Styal Balsam Bash

Avro Golf Club Balsam Bash

Avro Golf Club Woodford Balsam Bash DeanClub members and volunteers had a fantastic balsam bash on 2nd July, in some slightly changeable weather where sunscreen and wellies were needed, all in one morning!  There were 16 volunteers in all, including three children who contributed over 40 volunteer hours in total.

 

 

 

 

Although there is a still a lot of balsam found in the nearby Dairyhouse Wood, the volume of balsam in some areas of the woodland has really decreased thanks to consistent control work in these areas year on year.  Now these small areas are under control, the golf club and its volunteers can look to begin work in other areas of the woodland.

Avro Golf Club Woodford Balsam Bash Dean

Avro Golf Club Balsam Bash Bollin Stockport Woodford

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The working party on Saturday did just that, and were rewarded with lots of sandwiches and fruit pies in the Clubhouse afterwards.  Thank you to everyone that took part in the bash and contributed to keeping the River Dean free of invasive species.  At least you won’t be winning the wooden spoon for ‘Wettest Balsam Bash’ this year!

For more information on upcoming balsam bashes can be found here.

Balsam Bash Avro Golf Club

Balsam Bash Avro Golf Club

Goodbye…but not quite!

P1040396

So, today is my last day in the paid BEACON Project Officer post. This post has ended due to a lack of funding, something that has troubled the BEACON Project for some time now.

Whilst it has been very sad to be closing down the project, it has been great to go over old files and photos and remember all the fantastic work that has been done as part of this project. Volunteers have been integral to this work and I am hugely grateful for all the input everyone has had over the years, be it with invasive species or diffuse water pollution. There has been over 7,000 volunteer hours contributed during the project lifetime, and over 2,400 volunteers involved ranging from 3 years to 90 years old. Without all your hard work the BEACON Project would not be as well-known and well-regarded as it is today.

BEACON Bollin RDWP Walkover SurveyI will be volunteering one day a week to maintain the project’s presence going as there are options to resume BEACON that will be explored fully in June. So, you can still get hold of me here or email sally.potts@nationaltrust.org.uk

There are also lots of resources now available on this website which may help answer any questions you may have, and local groups are still hosting balsam bashing events too, the details of which can also be found in the events section of the BEACON website here.

Thank you everyone for all you have contributed to caring for our little patch of the Bollin, and I look forward to what the future holds for BEACON.

All the very best.

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Friends of the Carrs

The Carrs Riverside

The Friends of the Carrs are a very busy and active group, caring for the River Bollin and Parkland in Wilmslow that provides a haven for peace and recreation in the heart of the town.

The Friends of the Carrs have recently produced their Autumn newsletter, which gives updates on things that have happened on the Carrs in previous months, and events and activities that the group have planned for the future.  To read this newsletter you can download it here: Carrs newsletter Autumn 2014.

As the Friends of the Carrs manage a long stretch of the River Bollin, they also have to control invasive species and as such are active members of BEACON, and hold community balsam bashes every year.  

For more information about the Friends of the Carrs and how to join this group, please visit their website here. Or follow them on Twitter here

Farm Workshop – 1st October 2014

BEACON and Natural England Farm Workshop

© Andy Penton – Environment Agency

Last week, BEACON and Natural England got together to host a Farm Workshop at Egerton Hall, Rostherne.  This workshop aimed to provide farmers with more information on the control of invasive non-native species, as well as water friendly farming and agri-environment schemes.  There were elements of indoor presentations and outdoor practical field visits and demonstrations held adjacent to Rostherne Mere.

Farm Workshop Rostherne

© Andy Penton – Environment Agency

In the morning, the attendees went out to Rostherne Mere to look at practical demonstrations of how to control invasive species.  The group discussed how each control method works, and also non-chemical ways to control invasive non-native species.  Rupert, the Ranger at Rostherne Mere demonstrated their quad mounted spraying equipment, and Sally from BEACON showed the group how the stem injector works. 

Farm Workshop - Stem Injector

© Andy Penton – Environment Agency

 

Farm Workshop - Quad mounted sprayer

© Andy Penton – Environment Agency

Following lunch a short presentation was given to farmers on the effects of pollution on rivers and the different sources it can come from.  Everyone was very surprised about the polluting effects of milk!  There was lots of discussion and advice given on how to make sure your farm is working in a water friendly way.

There was another outdoor session in the afternoon to visit the areas of Rostherne Mere that aren’t publically accessible.  It was great to be able to go to places that are ordinarily closed, and Rupert gave a fantastic talk on what the issues are with managing the Mere and how he addresses these.  Himalayan balsam in the reed beds was a great cause for discussion.

Farm Workshop - Field Visit

In the feedback we got from the farmers they all enjoyed the day.  They found it useful to have different organisations there and see practical demonstrations given.  Everyone felt they had learned something they could apply to their work at home, which is a hugely positive outcome for BEACON, Natural England and most importantly the natural environment.