About the Asian Hornet

Help us fight the Asian Hornet!

The Biggest Threat to Enjoying the outdoors has arrived

With a number of reported deaths from Asian hornets in France and other countries across Europe, the invasion of these insects, if they become established, could pose a major threat to people’s enjoyment of the outdoors in the UK.

Nearly 20 years ago in 2004, the hornets made their debut appearance in Europe, coming from a single queen imported by mistake from China.  Today, they are widespread across much of Europe, with the ability to spread at a pace of about 50 miles a year.

Your help is needed now

During 2023, 78 Asian hornet nests were found in 56 locations in the UK.    A single nest can release up to 1,500 queens, although of course not all will survive the winter.

The easiest way to tell an Asian hornet from a European hornet is the yellow legs – which is why it is also known as the Yellow-Legged Hornet.

Sightings of Asian hornets are a notifiable invasive species and can be reported with a photo using the Asian Hornet Watch app, via email at altertnonnative@ceh.ac.uk  or at  www.nonnativespecies.org/alerts/asianhornet.

The Bio-Diversity Impact

Asian hornets are a non-native invasive predator of medium to large insects. They pose a serious threat to our native pollinators and, throughout the summer, honey bees can make up a substantial part of their diet as they build their nests up to several thousand individuals.

Nature conservation organisations, including the RSPB, are concerned about the impacts of Asian Hornets on bees, as these pollinating species are an essential component of well-functioning ecosystems.  Overall, Asian hornets could pose an alarming threat to biodiversity.

Research Fellow and behavioural ecologist Dr Peter Kennedy said: “Asian hornets are anticipated to be a significant mortality factor influencing a broad spectrum of insects, including honeybees, on top of existing stressors (habitat loss, disease, pollution, climate change, etc) that already impact our beleaguered native pollinator community.

“Worldwide, invasive non-native species are recognised as being a serious threat to biodiversity, and it is consequently important that we encourage the public to be informed, vigilant and proactive in reporting the presence of Asian hornets and other invasive species.”

The Economic Cost

A report by French scientists published in 2023 in the journal NeoBiota, found the environmental destruction and cost of fighting the invasion could cost the equivalent of £7.6million pounds a year.

Professor Franck Courchamp said: “In 2006, only two years after the hornet was first observed in France, three departments were already invaded and the cost of nest destruction was estimated at 408,000 euros.”

Join the fight, download the Asian Hornet Watch app and report any sightings.