Asian Hornet

European Hornet on Left – Asian Hornet on Right

The Asian Hornet has been sighted in the UK over the since 2018 and the first confirmed sighting in the UK was on 10th September in Gosport, Hampshire. They pose a very real threat to the honey bee and flying insects and every winter there will potentially be overwintering queens in the UK. We should all be vigilant.

The Asian Hornet is about 35mm long and looks black with yellow legs, and only flies during the day and doesn’t make a noise like the European Hornet.

The MVBKA has set up an Asian Hornet Action Team (AHAT) and if you would like to be involved please contact Gill Atkins using the Enquiry Form.

If you suspect you have seen an Asian hornet you can report this using the iPhone and Android app ‘Asian Hornet Watch’ or by emailing Identification guides and more information are available.  You should also contact the local Bee Inspector and alert the Association using the form on the Contact page.

The nest is the size of a football and the colour is dependant upon the type of wood used for the nest.

Asian hornet
Asian hornet

The Asian hornet is smaller than our native hornet and poses no greater risk to human health than a bee. However, they do pose a risk to honey bees and work is already underway to identify any nests, which includes setting up a surveillance zone and traps in the two identified locations and deploying bee inspectors to visit local beekeepers.

Hornet Lifecycle

Around April, surviving V. velutina queens begin a small primary nest, often in a sheltered location such as in the eaves of a roof or in a garden shed. Here they raise the first clutch of workers who take over the queen’s foraging duties. At this stage the nest grows quickly, and the hornets often move to establish a secondary nest where there is more space to expand.

These nests can become very large, and are often located high up in the tree canopy, close to a food source such as apiaries.

From late September to October, the mature nest produces males and then virgin queens which mate and disperse. However, the beginning of this stage of nest reproduction can vary, depending on climatic conditions. A single mature nest produces on average 11 foundress queens after taking into account overwintering mortality of the potentially hundreds of queens that first disperse in autumn.

Asian hornets can be trapped by using either commercial traps to prevent populations expanding. Asian Hornet Identification sheet.

Should you find a suspect Asian hornet or nest, please contact the Non Native Species Secretariat immediately using their alert email address: giving as much information as possible. Please include details such as your name, the location where the hornet was found and if possible an image of the specimen. Even if you are unsure of whether it is an Asian hornet, send it in any way – it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Alternatively please use the online form.