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.
What to look out for
- Vespa velutina queens are up to 30 mm in length; workers up to 25 mm (slightly smaller than the native European hornet Vespa crabro)
- Mostly black body except for its 4th abdominal segment which is a yellow band located towards the rear
- It has characteristic yellow legs which accounts for why it is often called the yellow legged hornet
- Face is orange with two brownish red compound eyes
- Vespa velutina is a day flying species which, unlike the European hornet, ceases activity at dusk
What do you do if you find 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
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. For more information visit the Non Native Species Secretariat website.
Information on this page is taken from the BBKA's Asian Hornet page where there is more information.