The Asian Hornet is an aggressive predator of insects: as its name suggests, it is not native to the UK. It is a serious threat to honeybees, bumble bees and other pollinating insects which are vital to our food supply and if its nest is disturbed, it can be a vicious attacker of people.
To tell them apart: the Asian hornet has an orange face, yellow lower legs and a mainly dark abdomen with one yellow segment; the European hornet has a yellow face, dark legs and an all yellow abdomen. The Asian hornet is slightly smaller than the European one.
At this time of year, the mated queens are looking for somewhere to overwinter – often in barns or outbuildings – before starting a new colony in the spring, often high up in a tree. Each colony can produce up to 6000 individuals and each hornet can eat up to 25 honeybees a day. The maths will tell you just how serious an invasion of this insect would be.
If you think you may have spotted an Asian hornet please either email email@example.com with location details and a photo if possible or use the online form. With vigilance, we can stop this insect from establishing itself in the UK.