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Asian Hornet (Vespa velutina)

The following information is taken from the NNSS (Non-Native Species Secretariat) website

The potential establishment of Asian hornets in Britain is a serious concern for our environment, our native bee populations, and the safety of our communities. Your vigilance and responsible actions can help mitigate this threat.

Asian Hornet – Vespa velutina

It’s impossible to over-state that this one insect is potentially the biggest ecological threat that has recently arrived in Britain – the Asian hornet (Vespa velutina). This invasive species, though relatively new to our shores, poses a significant risk to our local ecosystems, including the decline of pollinators, potential harm to human health, and a threat to native bee populations.

Not to be confused with the European hornet who has a natural and welcome place in our environment and is part of the balanced ecosystem in this country.


The Asian hornet is smaller than our native European hornet, measuring approximately 2-3cms in length. It has a distinctive appearance with its black thorax, a mostly dark abdomen with an orange-yellow fourth segment, and striking yellow legs. Of particular note are its characteristic dark wings.

Why the Concern?
  1. Predation on Bees: Asian hornets are voracious predators of honeybees and other pollinators. They can decimate beehives, causing significant damage to local beekeeping and honey production.

  2. Human Health: Although Asian hornets are generally not aggressive towards humans unless their nest is threatened, their stings can be painful and may cause severe allergic reactions in some individuals. It is crucial to be cautious and avoid their nests.
What You Can Do:
  1. Be Vigilant: Keep an eye out for Asian hornets, particularly during the late spring and summer months when they are most active. If you spot one, do not attempt to remove it yourself. Instead, report the sighting to the local authorities or an established Asian hornet reporting system.

  2. Protect Beehives: If you are a beekeeper, take steps to protect your hives from Asian hornet attacks. Install traps or screens that can help deter these predators.

  3. Public Awareness: Share information about the Asian hornet with your friends and neighbours. Awareness and early reporting are key to managing this invasive species.

  4. Safe Removal: If you come across an Asian hornet nest, do not attempt to remove it yourself. Contact a professional pest control service to handle the situation safely.

It is vital that you stay informed, remain vigilant, and take appropriate action if you encounter these invasive insects. Together, we can protect our local ecosystems and maintain a safe and vibrant environment for all.

More Asian Hornet sightings were reported in 2023 than any year previously !
Join the BBKA Asian Hornet WhatsApp Community

Get the latest Asian Hornet news stories, sent straight to your WhatsApp on your computer- all you need to do is click this link if you are on your computer, or if you use WhatsApp on your mobile phone, join using this QR code…

No one will be able to see who’s receiving BBKA broadcasts and no one else can send messages except for the BBKA Asian Hornet administrator – and you can leave any time you like. More information from the BBKA click here or see the BeeBase RSS feed at the bottom of this page.

Or you can report a sighting to the Mid Bucks Beekeepers using this form below...

This invasive insect is a non-native species and any sightings should be reported to ensure we can limit its spread across the county.

If you believe you have seen this insect, please consider reporting it to us so we can ensure that we can respond as quickly as possible.

A quick note on using the website What Three Words

This website provides a quick and simple way to uniquely identify any location in the country to a single square metre by using just three words.

If you are able to use this to report the location of your sighting this will will enable to locate this position very accurately.


If you are a user of "What 3 Words", please send us the W3W reference
as this identifies the location very accurately.

Vigilence is particularly required in southern parts of England and Wales and around major ports.  The Asian hornet is active mainly between April and November (peak August/September) and is inactive over the winter.

It is important to report any suspected sightings of this species as soon as possible.  Find out how to identify Asian hornet by downloading an Identification Guide, or visit the BeeBase website.