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Bees and the Asian Hornet threat



  • I guarantee you will know if you have Asian Hornets. It is not just the colouring but its also the size. I've had a nest in my property last early summer. Luckily these were dealt with swiftly.

  • To clarify ... Asian hornets are smaller than European hornets

    " ... The basic description of the Asian Hornet:-

    Vespa velutina queens are up to 3 cm in length; workers up to 25 mm (slightly smaller than the native European hornet Vespa crabro).... " 


    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh

  • dave125dave125 Posts: 178

    Has this been confirmed as a non natural colonisation? I last saw this species in Turkey in 1994 and found it rather benign in comparison to our native Hornet, which I have studied and photographed at length. The last I heard was that it was regular in gardens as close as North-western France. If Asian Hornet get's here under it's own steam then that does actually make it more native to the UK then the heavily subsidised Honey Bee but if it has been brought here through mans intervention then we could have a problem. We really shouldn't jump the gun with these things as our Hornet is very similar and well-meaning people will kill anything Hornet like as they did when Harlequin ladybirds were first spotted and anything that was a ladybird was squashed.

  • Asian Hornets being a non native do not have a predator in the UK and will decimate beneficial pollinators as they have done in France, only part of their seasonal diet is Honeybees. Please see the information on this NABK website which contains the UK government Guidance and focused guidance based on practical experience from Jersey  2017 and Devon incursion September 2017. Asian hornets are placid enough as single insects it is their feeding habits that is dangerous to our insects, the plants they pollinate and the songbirds further up the foodchain. However I have not read of anyone being killed from European Hornet stings while in France last year I understand 6 unfortunate people disturbed nests and it cost them their life. These were not allergic deaths as I understand. I would think the Asian Hornets ability to project venom forward while flying is serious and I do not want to get near their c7mm sting. The issue with trapping is also of concern as is shown on with some thoughts from Devon Apicultural Research Group and Glyn Davies. So dave125, I agree we must not jump the gun but we must think through what we are to do with Asian Hornets and be prepared, something I have heard said on Gardeners World, many times about many issues. These insects have the potential to alter what our gardens are and so we must respect them and decide what an informed responce can do so please look at

    Last edited: 23 February 2018 23:31:22

  • Camellias in Flower now Signal Start of Asian Hornet year  2019

    Last year saw a number if ocurrences of Asian Hornets  starting nests in the south of England.   This species is and invasive alien and can do serious harm to the native pollinating insects and honey bees of the UK if it is allowed to become established on our shores.  It is a reportable species and the National Bee Unit from Defra will send out its Inspectors to hunt down and destroy any colonies that they find.

    LAst year NBU destroyed six nests and it is hoped that these were the only ones started last season. It is possible, however that some accidental importations of queen Asian Hornets were able to found nests without being discovered. These nest will have produced possibly 200 - 600 new queens which will have flown off to mate and then hibernate for the winter.  After awaking from hibernation they then fly tens of kilometres to find   places to set up new nests.  In order to do this they have to feed up on nectar for energy and will visit any spring flowering shrubs that have open single flowers and a good nectar supply.   Since camellias are native to their region of origin in south east Asia it is though they will seek out these shrubs maybe in preference to anything else.

    We in Asian Hornet Action Teams ( )would like to appeal to all gardeners and especially any with camellias to look out for these distinctive insects visiting their shrubs.   They are noisy flyers and have a dark appearance except for the broad yellow/orange band on their abdomen but are very wasp-like in shape. Another distinctive feature are their yellow legs but these are only easily seen when the insect is at rest feeding.

     Though they have a nasty sting they are reasonably docile whilst feeding and can be easily  photographed which may be the best way of getting evidence which is needed when reporting them

    To report these insect to the authorities email:  

    [email protected]

     or go to:

    where  you will find details of how to make a report and send a photograph.   If you wish to get help and advice because you think you may have seen an Asian Hornet but are not sure then you can go to:


    where you will find details of AHAT members who will come out to yu and help identify what you have seen.

  • The hornet arrived here a year or so ago, also in Sark and Jersey.  We fear that their population will explode in the islands this year
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 50,243
    We don't get hornets of any kind up here, so hopefully we won't have to worry.

    I'm not sure what people can practically do to stop them if they become prevalent though, once they appear.   :/
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • If they become prevalent their is very little that can be done, Fairygirl.    The point is we must not let them become prevalent or established. That is why we need everybody to know what they look like and to report them if they see them.   Then NBU can find the nests and destroy them before new queens are produced for next year.

    Ther is jsut one weakness in what we are asking people to help with.    At this time we think there are no Asian Hornets present in the UK because NBU tells us that they destroyed every nest they knew about. SO we could be asking for everybody to look for something that is not there.  And in these circumstances people will soon give up looking.

    But if there was just one nest missed last year (this happened in Jersey in 2017  and the island has a big Asian Hornet problem now)  then there could be anything up to 50 or 60 nests produced by queens from that nest in 2019.   We need people to watch out for that possibility and we know it is  a big ask.......but we have to try.  If we don't people will start complaining when they find Asian Hornets becoming a dangerous nuisance in years to come.   We complain about wasps but wait until people start blundering into well hidden nests in hedges when they go to cut trim them.   A person on Jersey suffered anaphylactic shock after a gardener disturbed a nest in a  hedge with his hedge trimmer.     Several people have died in France as a result of severe sting attacks from Asian Hornets.


  • nutcutletnutcutlet Posts: 26,985
    Are the Asian Hornets more of a threat to Bee keeping interests than to our native wildlife? I can see problems arising from the Asian Hornet hysteria, such as the extermination of our native Hornet and the larger Hoverflies. :(  

    In the sticks near Peterborough
  • steephillsteephill Posts: 2,637
    The key to avoiding damage to other species is to restrict our actions to observing and reporting. Then actual real experts can confirm if there is a problem and take appropriate action. Indiscriminate destruction of perceived "pests" is not a good idea for the health of our gardens or the wider environment.
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