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Asian Hornet

The Asian Hornet is considerably smaller than our native European Hornet, and poses no more risk to the population than a honeybee.

The Asian Hornet is thought to have come to Le Havre, Northern France about 10 years ago in the straw packing of some china from China. The Asian Hornet was transported to the south of France from where it has spread to cover all of France and Belgium, Northern Spain and Portugal, parts of Germany and Italy.

The National Bee Unit has been expecting the Asian Hornet to arrive for the last few years, and had developed an action plan to deal with the threat.

The action plan was put into practice this year when an Asian Hornet was noticed by a beekeeper in Tetbury, Gloucestershire in September this year. Within 7 days the nest it had built high in a fir tree had been located, the Hornet and its offspring eradicated in the nest and the nest removed for examination in a government laboratory. Another Asian Hornet was seen in Somerset a week or so later but this proved to be a single individual who had not built a nest. Both hornets had the same DNA, as did those now resident in France.

There will be more sightings of Asian Hornets in the UK in years to come, but there is a will to not let them survive in the UK because the Asian Hornet eats honeybees and their honey and can wipe out whole colonies if given a free rein.

Click here for more information on Asian Hornets

Asian Hornet “hawking” honeybees. The hornet only wants the honeybee’s thorax which is where its muscles are located.

Asian Hornet Workers are about 1” long (25 mm)

Queens are about 1¼” (30 mm)

Thorax is black , legs are dark brown with yellow tips

Asian Hornets found at Woolacombe, Devon in September 2017

If you suspect you have seen Asian Hornets, photograph them and send your photograph along with details of the location of the hornets to :-

Alertnonnative@ceh.ac.uk