Forum home Plants

Camellias in flower now Signal Start of Asian Hornet Year

Camellias in Flower now Signal Start of Asian Hornet year

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 go to: 

[email protected]

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.



  • Bumble bee queens have already been seen flying when the weather is warm so it is not too early to start looking for Asian Hornet queens.

    You may also see European Hornet queens flying but these look like very large wasps with a chestnut brown head and thorax and should not be confused with the smaller Asian Hornet which is brown black on the top of its head, thorax and abdomen except for the yellow orange band on its abdomen.

    To see examples of both types of Hornet go to

    You will also find some examples of insects which can be mistaken for Asian Hornet.
  • steephillsteephill Posts: 2,761
    A useful early warning as I didn't imagine that they would be active this early in the year. I am in the SE and have camellias in the garden so will look out for them. We get a few European hornets as well as many types of bees including our neighbour's honey bees so we should be an inviting home for them if they are around.
  • Any that come out as early as this will have been woken from hibernation by exceptionally warm conditions for the time of year.  We just want everyone to be prepared and to start looking early so they get in the habit of watching for them.   In fact we hope nobody does see and Asian Hornet as the spring warms up because that means we probably did miss nests last summer and autumn.     But if we don't look for them we wont find them so everybody please keep your eyes open 
  • wild edgeswild edges Posts: 9,894
    Just copying this from @Dovefromabove 's post on the other thread to avoid any unecessary killing of native hornets.

    The ID sheet in pdf format on the page below is very useful since markings tend to vary a bit.

    Tradition is just peer pressure from dead people
  • OK so with this cold sanap it look as if I was a little premature with the warnings about Asian Hornets!   But do look out for them if we get a sudden mild spell when this snow and frost disappears.
Sign In or Register to comment.