Species alerts

Asian hornet - Vespa velutina

Asian hornet - <em>Vespa velutina</em>

This is a species alert:

Vespa velutina, also known as the Asian hornet is an invasive non-native species from Asia.  It arrived in France in 2004 where it spread rapidly.  As a highly effective predator of insects, including honey bees and other beneficial species, it can cause significant losses to bee colonies, and potentially other native species.   

The National Bee Unit has confirmed a sighting of the Asian hornet in the Tetbury area of Gloucestershire in September 2016 - the first time the hornet has been discovered in the UK.  The places it is most likely to be found are in southern parts of England or goods among which it could be accidentally imported (such as soil with imported pot plants, cut flowers, fruit and timber).  Active months between April and November (peak August/September). Inactive over the winter.

Sightings should be sent with a photograph and location details to

Or submitted online through

Do not under any circumstances disturb or provoke an active hornets’ nest.

Asian Hornet resources:

Guidance for bee keepers: can be found on BeeBase.

[Image courtesy of Jean Haxaire]

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