Asian Hornets

The Asian Hornet (vespa velutina) is an invasive, non-native hornet to the UK. They are highly aggressive predators of our native insects and pose a real threat to honey bees and pollinators. Originally from Asia, they were accidentally introduced to France in 2004 and spread rapidly. A number of sightings have been recorded in the UK since 2016. It’s important that any new sightings are reported immediately.

How to spot an Asian Hornet:

  • They have a dark brown or black velvety body;
  • They have a yellow or orange band on fourth segment of abdomen;
  • They have yellow tipped legs;
  • They are smaller than the native European Hornet; and
  • They are not active at night.

Can you recognise an Asian Hornet?

It is important for people to be able to recognise the difference between the native European Hornet, which lives reasonably happily with honey bees, and the Asian Hornet which can easily devastate colonies in a very short time. The Non Native Species Secretariat (NNSS) guides below show the key ID features of Asian Hornets and similar species that could be wrongly identified as Asian Hornets. 

To find out more, view this useful video on Youtube from Martyn Hocking:

What to do if you spot an Asian Hornet

Report all sightings, preferably with a photo, to

You can also use the Asian Hornet Watch mobile phone app to report sightings with a GPS location  and identify different species easily confused with the hornet such as the European Hornet, Giant Wood Wasp and the Hornet Hoverfly.

Download the Asian Hornet Watch app:

Google Play iTunes
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