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Vespa Velutina

Native to China, the Asian Hornet arrived in Europe in 2004. Today it is widespread in parts of France, Spain, the Channel Islands and Portugal.  The Asian Hornet, also known as the Yellow-legged hornet, is a predator to honey bees and pollinating insects, species which are already struggling. 


Asian hornets arrived in the UK for the first time in 2016 and sightings have been reported each year since then. Asian hornets are on the increase in the UK. 

    Image: Danel Solabarrieta 

Identifying an Asian Hornet

The main distinguishing features of Asian Hornets are:

  • Yellow 'Legs'

  • An almost entirely dark abdomen except for the 4th segment, which is yellow

  • Size: larger than honey bees and wasps but smaller than our native European Hornets.

  • The head is dark from above and orange from the front

  • Only active during the day between April - November with peak activity August & September.


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What to do if you see an Asian Hornet


Asian Hornets can eat between 30-50 bees each day. They can be spotted outside hives waiting for emerging and returning bees. They also invade and attack colonies.


If you spot an Asian Hornet it is important to RECORD and REPORT it. Asian hornets are active mainly between April and November (peak August/September) and inactive over the winter.


Sightings, with photographs and location where possible should be sent to Non Native Species Secretariat (NNSS).  The easiest way to report a sighting is via the Asian Hornet Watch App on your mobile phone.  If you'd rather not have the app on your mobile, there is an online recording form available. The App, developed by the UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, is FREE from Google Play for Android phones and the Mac App Store for iPhones. The Online recording form can be accessed here.

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Suffolk Coastal BKA’s Asian Hornet Action Team

SCBKA now has an Asian Hornet Action Team (AHAT), comprised of volunteer members that are trained and ready to go out to any suspected Asian Hornet (AH) sighting in our Suffolk Coastal area to verify whether there are AHs present as suspected.  Remember that suspected sightings must, in the first instance be reported via the AH App, which will trigger an 'ALERT' to the SCBKA AHAT.

Please note, the team WILL NOT be trapping the hornets, and ask that other beekeepers and members of the public do not kill them, as a dead hornet cannot lead back to its nest where there will be thousands more developing.  It is the nest that must be destroyed, not an individual AH.
Instead SCBKA AHAT members will set up ‘monitoring stations’ at the location of the suspected sighting and ask that if you, or anyone with you, see such a station, you leave it alone. AH are not dangerous when feeding and monitoring stations help lead us to the nests.


Thank you.
AHAT coordinators

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