Asian Hornet – Vespa Velutina

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The Threat They Pose?

“Asian hornets are a non-native invasive predator of medium to large insects. They pose a serious threat to our native pollinators and, throughout the summer, honey bees can make up a substantial part of their diet as they build their nests up to several thousand individuals.”     

Animal and Plant Health Agency, DEFRA, UK GOV


Asian Hornet – Vespa Velutina

significant threat to honeybees, pollinators,fruit crops and people

European Hornet – Vespa Crebro

part of our natural Ecosystem. harmless if left alone

Common Wasp – Vespa Vulgaris

irritating around people, however part of the natural eco-system

Giant Woodwasp – Urocerus Gigas

Harmless member of our woodland eco-system.

Asian Hornets in Europe?

The Asian Hornet is native to Asia and was confirmed for the first time in Europe in the Southwest of France in 2004. A single queen was thought to have been imported in a consignment of pottery from China. As of December 2022, the Asian hornet is confirmed to be established in Spain, Belgium, Netherlands, Portugal, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, and Jersey.

Asian Hornets in the UK?

The first report of and Asian Hornet in the UK was in 2016. In subsequent years there have been further sightings and action has been taken to find and destroy nests. As of September 2023, this invasive insect is officially considered “uncontained” in the South of England. This means it will almost certainly spread further, with some forecasts estimating it will be established throughout the UK by 2027/8.

Asian Hornets – Danger?

The Asian Hornet preys on a wide range of insects and pollinators, including honeybees, and disrupts the ecological role they play in food production. Asian hornets have also altered the biodiversity in the regions of France where it has become established. These hornets can demonstrate aggressive behaviour and have a painful sting, potentially posing a health risk to those who have allergies to hornet or wasp stings.

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What Can You Do?

Download the Asian Hornet APP for Apple (iPhone) or Android (e.g. Samsung)  to your mobile phone.

click here for Apple

click here for Android

or if not on mobile

Please study the appearance and habits of the Asian hornet so you can identify it and not confuse it with our own native species, especially those listed above.

Please do not approach an Asian hornet too closely or go near a nest!


What Action Is Being Taken?

In coordination with the National Bee Unit, (a section of the APHA & DEFRA), the British Beekeepers’ Association is developing Asian Hornet Teams to help identify, report and track this devastating invader. The Asian hornet teams are in various stages of development and their coordinators and members can be found on the map. Beekeeping Associations and Branches throughout Cumbria are collaborating to provide a response group, the Cumbria Asian Hornet Action Team.

Cumbria Asian Hornet Action Team coordinators (blue) and members (red).

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Special Briefings to Beekeepers

    Presented by Andrew Durham
     Cambridgeshire Beekeeper
September 2023