Dorset's honey bees are in trouble and your help is needed.

The West Dorset Beekeepers Association say a new and serious threat is set to cross the English Channel and attack the honey bees; the Asian hornet.

The hornet, which is already present all over continental Europe, is similar in appearance to our native European hornet but much more deadly.

Carole Brown, secretary of the West Dorset Beekeepers Association, said: “Last year, nests were discovered in Devon and Gloucestershire and, fortunately, they were quickly found and destroyed. The native hornet takes an occasional honey bee but overall it is a useful insect, catching a range of bugs to feed its young. It is relatively rare, with small nests, and is deserving of our protection

The Asian hornet is a very different animal. It conceals its huge nests high in trees, where they are hard to spot. When it locates a hive of honey bees it surrounds the entrance, facing outwards to catch and kill the bees as they come in laden with pollen and nectar. Within a short time the whole colony is finished."

Beekeepers need your help in spotting and reporting the arrival of queen Asian hornets – each one of which is capable of starting an entire colony of tens of thousands of insects. The hornets may arrive in a flower pot, or a shipment of furniture, or may be carried here on the wind. It is predicted they could arrive any time from now on.

If you see what looks like a large wasp, with yellow 'stockings' up to the knee, the West Dorset Beekeepers Association would encourage you to help by taking a photo of it on your phone and sending to: with details of where you saw it.

The ‘Asian Hornet Watch’ app is also available to download free of charge from the Apple and Android app stores.