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Asian hornet sightings

 29/11/2019    Last Modified: 29/11/2019

The Asian Hornet ©Jean Haxaire

An Asian hornet sighting was confirmed near Christchurch on 1 October and two nests were subsequently destroyed. The hornet is a threat to honey bees and pollinating insects and sightings should be reported.

Earlier confirmed sightings occurred south-west of Ashford in Kent on 9 September and in the Tamworth area of Staffordshire on 2 September, where a nest was subsequently located and destroyed. Earlier in the year a single hornet was confirmed in New Milton, Hampshire. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said in all cases the hornets were spotted and reported by a member of the public.

Vespa velutina is not native to the UK. It is smaller than the native hornet and single hornets pose no greater risk to human health than other hornets or bees. However, because it poses risk to honey bees and pollinating insects, Defra is keen to stop the hornet establishing in the UK.

There have been reports in other countries of Asian hornets becoming aggressive when their nests are disturbed. The advice from Defra is that if you find a nest, do not try to remove it yourself – it can be dangerous and this work should only be done by experts.

When a sighting is confirmed, experts from the National Bee Unit (NBU) and the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) will work quickly to find and destroy any active nests in the area.

Since 2016, there have been a total of 17 confirmed sightings of the Asian hornet in England and nine nests have been destroyed.

How to spot an Asian hornet

Asian hornets:

  • have a dark brown or black velvety body
  • have a yellow or orange band on the fourth segment of the abdomen
  • have yellow-tipped legs
  • are smaller than the native European hornet
  • are not active at night

Guidance on how to identify an Asian hornet can be found at www.nonnativespecies.org/alerts

How to report an Asian hornet

If you suspect you have seen an Asian hornet you should report it using the ‘Asian Hornet Watch’ app for iPhone or Android.

You can also report sightings by email: alertnonnative@ceh.ac.uk. Include information on the location, date and number of Asian hornets you have seen plus a photo if you can.

This article was taken form Issue 187 Winter 2019 of the ARB Magazine, which is available to view free to members by simply logging in to the website and viewing your profile area.

pests, Asian, Hornet, Insects, Pests and Diseases