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Asian Hornets in the UK – What You Need to Know

Recently, there has been a sharp rise in the number of sightings of Asian hornets in the UK. These are an invasive species that threaten the survival of our bees and pose a risk to humans. In this blog, you’ll learn how to identify one and what to do if you discover a nest.

An Asian hornet is laying on a leaf. It has an orange face, with yellow tipped legs, a velvety body, and a dark abdomens. 

Photo credit: Gilles San Martin 

Why People Are Concerned About the Arrival of Asian Hornets In The UK

Asian hornets pose a serious threat to both humans and bees. One sting from an Asian hornet could kill a person who is allergic to their venom. This, along with the fact that they consume our bees.

A single Asian hornet is capable of eating 50 honey bees in a day, and a swarm has the potential to kill an entire hive of around 30,000 bees. 

A decline in pollinators could severely impact our biodiversity, which will have a knock-on effect on food production and medication. 

Worryingly, this year, there has been a big rise in sightings of the Asian Hornets, and a record number of nests have been discovered. So, it’s important for us to act fast if we spot one.

Where Asian Hornets Have Been Sighted So Far In 2023

In the previous two years, there were only two sightings recorded. However, so far in 2023, 22 have been confirmed across a wide area of England – including Kent, Manchester, Cornwall, and Birmingham.

The British Beekeepers Association has an interactive map that allows you to zoom in to see precise locations.

How to Identify An Asian Hornet 

  • Asian hornets are smaller than native hornets. They can be identified by their orange faces, yellow-tipped legs, velvety bodies, and dark abdomens. 
  • European hornets have brown-tipped legs, long yellow antennae, and a mainly yellow abdomen with an obvious ‘waist.’

Asian hornets are only active during daylight hours and mainly pose a threat when protecting their nests, which can be found high up in trees and in low bramble thickets. 

What To Do If You Discover An Asian Hornet

The Beekeepers Association has stated that “on no account should you approach an Asian hornet nest”. However, it’s important to be vigilant and report sightings of Asian Hornets and their nests. 

You can report sightings through the ‘Asian Hornet Watch’ app on your mobile phone or by filling in this online form.

What To Do If You Find A Different Type of Nest

If you discover a wasp nest or require bee removal on or around your property, then get in touch with our pest control experts, who will deal with the problem promptly. 

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