As beekeepers we are in a uniquely advantageous position to either trap or sight the Asian Hornet ‘Vespa Velutina’ and this is vital to preserve honeybees and other pollinating insects in the UK.

Asian hornets were initially brought to France in 2004, most likely in a shipment of pottery imported from east Asia. Since arriving in France, the species has spread rapidly and decimated pollinators, partiularly honeybees, in that country.

 

There is now an imminent threat to that this non-native species will start ot breed in this country. If it does so it will quickly spread throughout the country so it is imperative that any sightings of the hornet are immediately reported to the Non-Native Species Secretariat. It is possible to prevent Asian hornets from establishing in the UK, and a key part of this will be detecting any queens as they emerge from hibernation with queens emerging as early as February, now is the time to be vigilant.

How to distinguish the Asian Hornet from our native European 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 which can reach 35mm)
  • The Asian Hornet has an entirely dark brown or black velvety body, bordered with a fine yellow band
  • The Asian Hornet has only one band on the abdomen: the 4th abdominal segment is almost entirely yellow/orange. European hornets, on the other hand, have a brown and yellow striped abdomen
  • The Asian Hornet is known as the 'Yellow legged hornet' with bright yellow tips to thier legs, European hornets have dark legs.
  • The Asian Hornet has a black head with an orange-yellow face
  • Vespa velutina is a day flying species which, unlike the European hornet which will fly at night, ceases activity at dusk

Further infortmation can be found on the BBKA website

Please download our helpful factsheet and place it on local notice boards and windows. The more awareness that there is in the public eye, the better for honey bees.

 


BeeBase

Beebase News Web feed
  • Asian hornet confirmed in the Ascot area of Berkshire
    08 October 2021
    A beekeeper in the Ascot area of Berkshire filmed live insects near a hive, photographed a dead Vespa velutina and reported the sighting using the using the ‘Asian hornet Watch' app.

    Further information regarding the Asian hornet can be found on our Asian hornet page of BeeBase and on Defra's news page. Please direct all media enquiries to the Defra Press Office: 0330 0416560
  • Implementation Plan Published
    04 October 2021
    A new implementation plan has been published which sets out how Defra and the Welsh Government will work together with stakeholders to deliver the Healthy Bees Plan 2030 to improve honey bee health and husbandry in England & Wales.

    More than fifty actions have been developed in partnership with industry and stakeholders for beekeepers, bee farmers, bee associations and government to work on together, to protect honey bees from a variety of pests, diseases and environmental threats over the next 10 years.

    Healthy Bees Plan 2030 Implementation 

    Healthy Bees Plan 2030 Implementation - Welsh Version


  • Seasonal Bee Inspector (SBI) vacancy
    23 September 2021
    The National Bee Unit currently has a Seasonal Bee Inspector (SBI) vacancy advertised in:

    •  East England: Norfolk.
    •  North West England: West Yorkshire.
    •  North East Wales: Flintshire, Denbighshire & Wrexham.
    •  Mid-South Wales: Swansea, Neath Port Talbot, Rhondda Cynon Taf, Merthyr Tydfil.

    If you are interested in applying for these jobs, full details can be found on Civil Service Jobs 


    If you have any questions regarding the position, please contact the Regional Bee Inspector for the area.