HORNETS - These hornet's nest, complete with pupae were found in a hedgerow in 2016, at Herstmonceux Museum in Sussex. Another hornet was captured in May of 2023, and filmed, which you can see below. The lone hornet had entered a canteen area, flown into the web of a false widow spider over a high roof window, and the two combatants crashed to the ground as the hornet tried to escape. One of our associates separated the vespoid from the arachnid, and filmed the little blighter in the yogurt pot. The spider would have won, as the hornet was completely tangled. The spider escaped another plastic tub, and a week later, had constructed a web at worktop height, and had to be relocated outside. No doubt, finding its way back inside, and we do not care about that. So long as it is a natural act. Spiders keep the fly population controlled. A supply and demand thing, or nature balancing things.




The European Hornet, is slightly larger than the invasive Asian Hornet, which has yellow legs. The nest found in a hedge in the summer of 2016 in Lime Park, Herstmonceux, is therefore likely to be the European species, but this picture has been shared with the investigating universities, just to be sure, where the abdomen was not that yellow, and the legs are not yellow. In addition, the head is not black. Video link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EGve53ZDvds


It is worth reading up on both species, and only then if you are unsure, report the matter to one of the academic institutions monitoring the spread. They are probably inundated with reported sightings.



The eyes of V. crabro are deeply indented and shaped like a "C". Its wings are reddish-orange, while the petiolate abdomen is striped with brown and yellow. It has hair on the thorax and abdomen, although the European hornet is not as hairy as most bees. Due to this coloration and abdomen pattern, V. crabro is often mistaken for the Asian giant hornet. Typical mass size for the European Hornet is 477.5±59.9 mg. Workers average around 25 mm (1.0 in) in length, while the larger queens can reach up to 35 mm (1.4 in). This is significantly larger than most common wasps (such as Vespula vulgaris), but smaller than the Asian giant hornet.


Vespa velutina is significantly smaller than the European hornet. Typically, queens are 30 mm (1.2 in) in length, and males about 24 mm (0.95 in). Workers measure about 20 mm (0.80 in) in length. The species has distinctive yellow tarsi (legs). The thorax is a velvety brown or black with a brown abdomen. Each abdominal segment has a narrow posterior yellow border, except for the fourth segment, which is orange. The head is black and the face yellow. Regional forms vary sufficiently in color to cause difficulties in classification, and several subspecies have been variously identified and ultimately rejected; while a history of recognizing subspecies within many of the Vespa species exists, including V. velutina, the most recent taxonomic revision of the genus treats all subspecific names in the genus Vespa as synonyms, effectively relegating them to no more than informal names for regional color forms. The color form causing concern about its invasiveness in Europe has been referred to as V. v. nigrithorax, though this name no longer has any taxonomic standing.







EUROPEAN HORNET, VESPA CRABRO, A SPECIES NATIVE TO ENGLAND - Please note that this hornet was released back into the wild. No animal was harmed during any of these recordings. Recordings were not rehearsed, in the interests of releasing the specimens as quickly as possible, to minimize distress.


There have been umpteen instances of toads and slow worms in this location. Dragonflies and ichneumon wasps. Our particular favorite are bumble bees, that are given pride of place, alongside bats. We never disturb a nest. There is even an owl living in adjacent trees, that we can hear hooting at night. There are also foxes, rabbits and adders. If you like snakes. One adder, slithered over the foot of a former curator, then into ivy growing up a sycamore tree. He stood perfectly still, such as not to cause the reptile to react adversely, and get bitten. It had beautiful markings. But the whole incident was over so quickly, nobody got a picture.


We are fortunate to be able to experience such a wide variety of wildlife in this location. The only real nuisances are mice and grey squirrels. We had one squirrel trained to eat nuts from the hand. Unfortunately, a local cat may have frightened that furry creature away, or even eaten it. For it disappeared. We also had peacocks nesting in the grounds at one point, and one old fox, used to sunbathe in the back yard. One feral black and white cat lives on site. Belonging to nobody, and is not fed. So, must be helping to cull the local mouse population. Ducks, moorhens and great crested newts are a feature of the ponds in Lime Park. There is also a heron.






Thank you for your interest in non-native species and for contributing this record. Your species record has been logged with the reference NNA23681570:


Thank you so much for your e-mail. We receive lots of reports of native species that look like Asian hornets and I am pleased to say that the photograph you have sent is a native species - the European Hornet, Vespa crabro.

European Hornet activity tends to be most noticed in the spring, when queens start becoming active after over-wintering and start searching for suitable nesting sites, and then again in late summer when colonies start to disperse searching for food etc - at this time of year they are often seen during the night as well as the day as they are attracted to light in moderate numbers. [We can confirm that pattern of behaviour, noted over several years, of formulating a plan to protect a historic wooden building.]

More information on this fantastic native insect is available here:


Could you enter the record, with photo, at https://www.brc.ac.uk/irecord/enter-casual-record


This will be very useful as a record of this native species. Only the fields marked with a red asterisk * are required. You can enter the "spatial reference" simply by clicking on the map. Please use Vespa crabro or Hornet in the species name box.








Thank you so much for your e-mail. If you contacted us regarding a suspected sighting of Asian hornet, we will respond within 2 working days if we require further details from you to assess your sighting. If you are concerned about another non-native species then we will endeavour to respond with more information very soon.


We receive lots of suspected Asian hornet reports and assess each one individually but unfortunately, we cannot reply to every email. Therefore if you included a photo with your email and do not hear from us, you can be assured the species you have reported is not an Asian hornet. 

Most of the reports we receive are of native species and there have been very few confirmed occurrences of Asian hornet in GB to date - for the latest information on the status of Asian hornet in GB see here:




However, reporting sightings as you have done is hugely appreciated and important in assisting with surveillance of non-native species. 

It would be extremely helpful to us if you could upload your record online at: http://www.brc.ac.uk/risc/alert.php?species=asian_hornet


or through the free Asian Hornet Watch recording app for Android and Apple devices:




or https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/asian-hornet-watch/id1161238813


This helps us by adding your record directly into our species database where we will endeavour to provide feedback on the identity of the insect you have reported as soon as possible, and can share information with others involved with surveillance for this species. 

Please include a photo of the insect if possible and safe to take one, or a detailed description if not. If you cannot take a photo but have a dead insect you can post the specimen to the address at the end of this email and we can check it and get back to you – please note if you can take a photo and enter it in the form or app there is no need to post the specimen.


For further guidance on obtaining a sample please visit the following page on the National Bee Unit website:



Most of the records we receive are of the native European Hornet, Vespa crabro, which is actually slightly larger than the Asian Hornet, but with a lot more yellow on the abdomen. The queens, as with other bees and wasps, are larger, and are particularly noticeable in spring when they start looking for nesting sites after spending the winter inactive. The queens then set up a colony which disperse in late summer when hornets again become especially noticeable and are often attracted to outdoor lights at night time as well. Other reports include other wasp species, especially the larger queens, bees and a range of wasp and bee mimic hoverflies. 

For more information on some of the common insects which are often confused with Asian hornet, see the following: 



The Bees, Wasps & Ants Recording Society (BWARS) have an excellent website on which more information on native species can be found. For example, information on the European Hornet can be found at:



For more information on Asian hornet, see the following: 


Thank you again for this report – such reports are extremely useful for non-native species surveillance. Please do report future sightings of concern by using the on-line form: http://www.brc.ac.uk/risc/alert.php?species=asian_hornet 

Very best wishes, 

GB Non-Native Species Information Portal (GB-NNSIP) 
Centre for Ecology & Hydrology 
Benson Lane, 
Crowmarsh Gifford 
Oxfordshire OX10 8BB 








LARGE BLACK BRITISH HOUSE SPIDER (Tegenaria domestica), can be found living behind the fireplace, under the sofa, or in the bath. Giant house spiders are particularly prevalent in the autumn when the males are out looking for females. The males stay with their chosen females for some weeks, mating numerous times until eventually they die, at which point they are eaten by their female. Giant house spiders spin sheet-like cobwebs in neglected corners of the room and wait close by for unsuspecting insects to get caught; they are most active at night. As a group, their long-legs, dark hairy bodies and preference for houses and buildings make them unmistakable. Please note that this spider was released back into the wild. No animal was harmed during any of these recordings.








It is likely the Asian hornet has become established in the UK, conservationists fear, as a record number of nests have been found.

There has been a sharp rise in sightings of the invasive species in the UK this year; the previous two years only had two sightings each, whereas there have been 22 confirmed so far in 2023. In total there have been 45 sightings since 2016.

The vast majority of the sightings have been in Kent and some experts are concerned the species may have established itself there. The government’s strategy is to locate and kill every hornet and destroy all nests to prevent them from staying over winter and multiplying. Once they are established, it is almost impossible to get rid of them.

The bumblebee conservation expert Dave Goulson, a professor of biology at the University of Sussex, said he feared it was likely the hornets had become established in Kent.

He told the Guardian: “It is a bit too early to say for sure but the situation looks ominous, with a record nine nests found and destroyed this year so far. If even one nest evades detection and reproduces it will then probably become impossible to prevent them establishing.”

Goulson said they would likely remain for good once established. “I think it is inevitable that they will eventually establish in the UK, and once here it is hard to see how they could be eliminated.”

This would be terrible news for native bees, which the hornets dismember and eat. They have thrived in France, where they have caused concern with the number of insects they have killed. They sit outside honeybee hives and capture bees as they enter and exit. They chop up the smaller insects and feed their thoraxes to their young.

Goulson added: “The arrival of Asian hornets would provide a significant new threat to insect populations that are already much reduced due to the many other pressures they face, such as habitat loss, pesticide use and so on.”

Matt Shardlow, the chief executive of the insect charity Buglife, agreed with Goulson, saying: “With four new Asian hornet nests being detected in the last week and a strong cluster in coastal Kent it seems likely that the species has colonised England. The Asian hornet is a risk to biodiversity; in particular it can hunt large numbers of wild solitary bee species.

“It is too early to give up on control efforts. Removing nests has probably managed to slow its colonisation, and the abundance of different wasps can be strongly influenced by weather, so we can still hope that eradication efforts, perhaps with some lucky weather, might nip this colonisation in the bud.”

The British Beekeepers Association trustee Julie Coleman, who lives in Kent, said hornets could have already overwintered in the area. “The fact that we seem to have a cluster around the coast in Kent, also Dorset, Plymouth, Weymouth and Hampshire, makes me think they are coming across on the wind. And there could have been an overwintered nest in Kent which has sent out hibernating queens in the autumn.”

Asian hornets first came to Europe in 2004 when they were spotted in France, and it is thought they were accidentally transported in cargo from Asia. They rapidly spread across western Europe and have crossed the Channel to Britain, probably also in cargo, but they can also come on the wind or under their own steam.

Experts recently warned that lax post-Brexit trade rules could be helping the hornets colonise Britain. The EU has banned the import of soil in pot plants from the UK since Brexit, partly because invasive species such as the Asian hornet can travel undetected in soil. The UK has not put reciprocal bans in place, however, meaning damaging species from the continent could be transported in soil.

Asian hornets are smaller than native hornets and can be identified by their orange faces, yellow-tipped legs and darker abdomens.

Nicola Spence, the chief plant and bee health officer at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, said: “Evidence from previous years suggested that all 13 Asian hornet nests found in the UK between 2016 and 2022 were separate incursions and there is nothing to suggest that Asian hornets are established in the UK. We have not seen any evidence which demonstrates that Asian hornets discovered in Kent this year were produced by queens that overwintered. We plan to do further detailed analysis over winter to assess this.”







HORNETS - A British hornet with a yellow abdomen






HORNETS - European yellow head





An Asian hornet with orange head



HORNETS - Asian with orange head







HORNETS - An Asian hornet spotted in Portugal in 2016







HORNETS - Japanese giant hornet 45mm, bright orang/yellow head











TITLE: Cross Orb Weaver Garden Spider Herstmonceux, Sussex wildlife. Copyright Miss Ocean 24 Sept 2023.






In addition to the archaeology contained in the structure of the extant generating building, together with original switches and other electrical apparatus, much of which was excavated on site, there are several innovative vehicles and vessels on permanent display at Herstmonceux Museum, including:


1. Art Gallery - Collection of paintings, pictures, graphics, sculptures, wooden carvings & exotic glassware

2. Archives - Historic documents library, patents, trademarks, copyright, films, catalogued legal papers & letters

3. An Edwardian ice well, throwback to the days before refrigeration

4. A large underground (condensation/cooling) and water storage chamber for ice making

5. The world's smallest water basin, test tank for model boats & ships to 1:20 scale

6. World's smallest wind tunnel, vehicle drag measuring instrument using electronic strain-gauges

7. Three PV boat models, Navigator, SWATH & 2 cats + route map prior to Swiss PlanetSolar

8. Seavax, the ocean cleanup proof of concept prototype from 2016

9. AmphiMax, radio controlled (working) beach launching & recovery vehicle for SeaVax

10. Anthony the most dangerous giant Australian bulldog ant, 300 times normal size

11. EV - FCEV refueling station model in 1:20 scale

12. The only working (fully functional) water well in Herstmonceux village

13. The fountain of youth, supplied from natural well water drawn on site

14. Second World War, 'Anderson Inspired,' bomb proof shelter constructed by Major Charles de Roemer

15. City sports FCEV-BEV, hydrogen gull wing proof of concept DC50 electric car

16. Land speed record car: Bluebird-Electric BE1 (original 1st) with battery cartridge exchange

17. Land speed record car: Bluebird-Electric BE2 (original 2nd) with cartridge exchange

18. A complete mummified squirrel, found when re-roofing the Museum June 2017

19. A fully operational, and restored VW Kombi van dating from 1978 (historic vehicle)

20. BMW i3, battery electric vehicle hybrid, with onboard generator range extender

21. Solar panel, sun tracking system, with battery storage

22. A hornet's nest found on site & preserved in 2016 (reported as [Asian] invasive species, to be safe)

23. Three sewing machines, including an antique Singer and a Brother industrial.

24. Adventure climbing frames for children (back to nature) Swiss Family Robinson

25. 'Elizabeth Swann' proof of concept model 1:20 scale hydrogen powered trimaran

26. Holm oaks, planting and growing trees from acorns on site, re-wilding in Sussex








ANTHONY THE MAGIC DINOBOT - Special effects animatronics/artwork for a Jameson Hunter story





We hope that these exhibits might inspire generations of young scientists, to think outside the box, as the innovators appear to have come up with some quite remarkable solutions, all in one place. As some kind of spontaneous think tank, inventive Mecca, or creative commune, where ideas come to life.













Copyright © 2023 Lime Park Heritage Trust. A not for profit organisation with charitable objects.