The Role of BBKA Associations and Beekeepers concerning Asian Hornets

The BBKA are asking every Association to select teams of 15 members to work with a co-ordinator to help identify the hornets. This team will assist with local requests for help in identifying Asian Hornets.
It is vital that all Beekeepers can identify Asian Hornets.
Each branch or group can establish their own team so that individuals will not be asked to travel vast distances. They should establish a good communication network between each other, so that the nearest team member can answer a call about a potential siting and call for back up if necessary.

To qualify for insurance you must undertake this exercise 

Asian Hornet Team Exercise

What Does the Team do?

  • Form a communication network of people confident in identifying what could be an Asian Hornet.
  • Know how to report a suspected hornet
  • Distribute identifying literature  and inform individuals, businesses, markets gardeners etc in their area about Asian Hornets and how to report them
  • Know how to set up open bait stations and advise the public about monitoring them (from a distance) if they are in suitable places such as a garden.
  • Provide contact numbers so that hornets can be reported
  • Establish monitoring traps in their area or when directed by bee inspectors

 Asian hornet hawking at beehive


Available literature

The ID sheet and poster can be downloaded from the Asian Hornet pages of BeeBase or ordered from the NBU office .

Each team should be organised with contact numbers and a team leader who can be contacted by an Area Association Coordinator. (This will facilitate easier dissemination of information)

Associations should encourage their members to register on BeeBase and to ensure that their contact and apiary details are up to date. If an email address is included this will ensure individuals can receive alerts from the NBU when Asian Hornets are sighted in their area. 

Asian Hornet Team Map 

The BBKA has set up a map similar to the one used for swarm collection. This will allow the public to search for a local association (secretary or AHT leader) to arrange assistance with the identification of suspect Asian hornet sightings or leads.

Team members from local area Associations can follow up leads from members of the public and aid them with identification and obtaining a specimen and photograph. These should be sent in through the [email protected] email address or the Asian Hornet Watch app.

All beekeepers should be encouraged to keep an eye out for Asian hornets in their apiaries catching bees or on flowering plants feeding on nectar or other insects.

In the winter months nests in deciduous trees may become visible.

Monitoring and Trapping.

  • Monitoring traps can be used in the spring or late summer especially around risk points such as ports or areas where nests have occurred previously. A fact sheet and YouTube video on how to make an Asian hornet monitoring trap are available from the Asian hornet pages of BeeBase.
  • It would be very helpful if all beekeepers who use monitoring traps were encouraged to record their use on BeeBase by editing their apiary records.

    Log into Beebase, click on 'My apiaries' and select apiary and edit those details. Scroll down to see the  place to list your monitoring trap information.
  • It is illegal to trap and release an alien species. This means it is illegal to trap and release an Asian Hornet.


Insurance Issues

The insurance cover that BBKA membership provides is excellent and covers all that Beekeepers do in the normal process of beekeeping including swarm collecting. Beekeepers are insured for beekeeping activities including swarm collections

The BBKA has arranged for up to 15 Registered or Partner members of each branch who are members of the Asian Hornet Action Teams  to be covered but they must be recorded on eR2 membership database and have completed a short exercise to ensure they have the basic knowledge needed.

BUT they are NOT insured if trespassing or entering areas without the landowners permission. They are NOT insured if involved in trapping and releasing Asian Hornets as this is an illegal activity.

Asian Hornets are an invasive species and sightings must be reported. Members of the public have NO insurance through the BBKA unless participating in Beekeeping activities with BBKA members.

Beekeepers involved in tracking hornets or searching for hornet nests in order to protect their bees are not insured if climbing ladders, trees or scaling buildings above the height specified in their BBKA policy concerning swarm collection.

Beekeepers should only be involved in tracking activities directed by the NBU and will not be insured if they are practically involved in Asian Hornet nest destruction, this will be undertaken by specialist Pest Controllers appointed by the NBU.

During a NBU response (this will be led by Bee Inspectors)

  • If the Asian Hornet is from Europe and there is no risk that it is from a local nest then nothing further will happen.
  • If flying Asian hornets are seen then a contingency response will be initiated and the local association contacted. Alerts will be sent out from BeeBase across the county to increase awareness.


The BBKA are asking all AREA Associations to supply contact details for their AREA Coordinator via ER2. 

What are the main characteristics of an Asian Hornet?

Orange face, yellow legs, dark abdomen with one broad orange stripe


Learn what the other insects are that may be confused with Asian hornets.

The Asian hornet App can help identify the similar pests. Please install the app on your phone.


It's available at the Google Play Store
And on Apple store


What to do when notified by a member of the public who is not sure what they have seen?

When you have contact from the public you should ask them to take a photo and use the Asian Hornet App on their phones. 

How should you as a beekeeper record a possible sighting?

On the mobile phone app Asian Hornet Watch.
This is the best way to report a possible sighting.   

When dealing with a potential AH siting you should always follow NBU guidance and BBKA Advice by checking with Beebase and our  websites to ensure you have current information. This helps to create a positive image of beekeepers to the public or colleagues.
Do not put yourself or others at risk.


You might find an Asian Hornet nest under a porch roof or shed or hedge or house eaves. They have been found in other locations. You should not be looking for nests unless instructed by the NBU Inspectors. You might find a secondary nest in autumn or summer.

Asian Hornets can have multiple nests sometimes. 


Camellias can attract Asian Hornets in the Spring.

See Colin Lodge's post

You might you find Asian Hornets in the summer either hawking by flowers that attract pollinators or hawking by beehives

What would the The NBU like Asian Hornet Team Volunteers to do to help to find Asian Hornets,

  • Use the AH Watch App.
  • Help with publicity,
  • Set up monitoring traps/ bait stations and
  • sending ID sample/photos
  • Publicity involves distributing leaflets and sharing online information to raise awareness of what an Asian hornet looks like
  • Encouraging download of the app for the general public.

If someone makes contact and you do not have time to assist then tell another member of your AHAT team.

Setting up a bait station

You must have permission to locate it. Set it up where you can observe it safely & easily and any attracted insects will not be a nuisance to others.

Consider the safety of yourself and others at all times.

If you find a nest then you should make a note of location, advise NBU,NNSS keeping a suitable distance and await Bee Inspectors,
Many mobile phones have GPS, or you could use the what3words app 
To take a location use a map, or postcode reference, note any direction of flight of hornet (Use a reference point such as a tree or buildings if you have no compass.)

Bait Traps can either be a plant saucer with tissue type or a honey jar wick trap. Bait can be Suterra but other baits can be made. 

Personal safety as an AHT member

When setting out to locate a possible sighting or nest please ensure some one knows of your intentions, the intended location and return time.
Remember during the Covid-19 pandemic to ensure you follow social distancing and avoid places where you are in close contact with other people not from your household.

When setting out for a potential sighting or nest take the following

A note of location and contact number, your fully charged and working mobile phone and camera. Information on how to report. Equipment to set up bait station. Information card about Asian Hornet.   Let people know you are going out and when you expect to be back. 



Identification leaflet

Further reading

Beebase Asian Hornet Images

Sitings map