Vespa velutina, sometimes known as the ‘Asian hornet’ is an invasive non-native species from Asia. If you find one you must report it. It arrived in France in 2004 and has spread rapidly. As a highly effective predator of insects, including honey bees and other beneficial species, it can cause significant losses to bee colonies, other native species and potentially ecosystems
It is expected that the places it is most likely to be found in numbers are in southern parts of England (it may be able to cross the channel from France) or in goods among which it could be accidentally imported (such as soil with imported pot plants, cut flowers, fruit and timber). Active between April and November (peak August/September).
What to look out for
- Vespa velutina queens are up to 3 cm in length; workers up to 25 mm (slightly smaller than the native European hornet Vespa crabro)
- Entirely dark brown or black velvety body, bordered with a fine yellow band
- Only one band on the abdomen: 4th abdominal segment almost entirely yellow/orange
- Known as the ‘Yellow legged hornet’
- Head black with an orange-yellow face
- Vespa velutina is a day flying species which, unlike the European hornet, ceases activity at dusk
If you think you have seen an Asian Hornet
1. Please use the Asian Hornet Watch app on your phone to send a picture and a location via GPS in the app straight to the non-native species secretariat and National Bee Unit.
2. If you cannot download the Asian Hornet Watch app, please use this online recording form
3. As a last resort, you send a picture and email with details of where you saw the Asian hornet with your contact details to firstname.lastname@example.org
If it is safe to do so, you can send in a sample to the National Bee Unit for examination to confirm identity (please note the specimen must be dead before sending it in). However, do not under any circumstances disturb or provoke an active hornets’ nest.