Asian hornet Vespa Velutina
Vespa Velutina


Following recent press articles there have been many reports of potential Asian hornet, (Vespa velutina) sightings across the UK. We would like to re-assure everybody that there have been no confirmed sightings of Asian hornets in the UK, and so far all hornet reportings received by the National Unit have been identified as the native European hornet, Vespa crabro.

Experts at the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology confirm that the hornet picture taken in Kent and featured in the press is not an Asian hornet – which would be darker in colouration, and that the size suggests European hornet.

The Asian predatory hornet, Vespa velutina. Photograph: Jean Haxaire/AFP
The Asian predatory hornet, Vespa velutina. Photograph: Jean Haxaire/AFP

The Asian hornet or , is smaller than our native hornet, with characteristic yellow legs, a dark velvety thorax, and a dark abdomen with a distinctive yellow band on the fourth segment.

We are aware of the potential impacts they could have on and have contingency plans in place to remove them if they are identified. This includes comprehensive monitoring and teams ready to destroy any confirmed nests.

For those who think they have seen an Asian hornet please first read the Asian hornet ID sheet which outlines the main differences between the native European hornet and this Asian hornet.

There is more information on the Asian hornet pages of BeeBase.

If you still believe you have seen the Asian hornet after reading this ID sheet, please report it to the email address below, together with a photograph and location details: [email protected]

For more information about the Asian hornet and the work of the Non Native Species Secretariat, visit their website here:

National Bee Unit
May 2016


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