The invading species has already been found in Devon and two other parts of the country. Experts say it has the potential to devastate honey bee and other pollinating insect populations.
A honey farm near Sidbury is now the national centre of excellence for training beekeepers to cascade knowledge down to those at the ‘hive face’.
Beekeepers are seen as the natural frontline in the fight to prevent the menace taking hold. There are 1,000 beekeepers in Devon, 100 of them in East Devon.