Vespa velutina, sometimes known as the 'Asian hornet' is an invasive non-native species from Asia. If you find one you MUST report it. It arrived in France in 2004 and has spread rapidly. As a highly effective predator of insects, including honey bees and other beneficial species, it can cause significant losses to bee colonies, other native species and potentially ecosystems

It is expected that the places it is most likely to be found in numbers are in southern parts of England (it may be able to cross the channel from France) or in goods among which it could be accidentally imported (such as soil with imported pot plants, cut flowers, fruit and timber).  Active between April and November (peak August/September).

Three Easy Steps

1. Does it look very black?

2. Has it got a wide orange stripe on 4th segment of abdomen? 

3. Do its legs look as if they have been dipped in yellow paint?

Animal & Plant Health Agency have put together a short film to help you identify them too: 

How to report an Asian hornet

If you suspect you have seen an Asian hornet you should take a picture and report this using the ‘Asian Hornet Watch’ app:

You can also report sightings on an online report form 

Please fill out the details in the form - Non-native Species Alert -  at the link, in each of the three sections, before clicking on the Save button at the bottom of the last section. 

Sound of an Asian Hornet 

This was recorded in a bathroom at BBKA trustee Bob Hogge's house in Jersey where he is keeping a colony of Asian Hornets for study. The Asian Hornets have a very deep buzz: 



National Bee Unit identification poster

These resources can be ordered direct from the NBU office by contacting [email protected] - but to save time and money you can also download the files above and print them yourselves

This is the European hornet

This is the giant wood wasp

This is a wasp