Asian Hornet Prevention in Surrey

What particular threat from Asian hornets does Surrey face in 2024?

During 2023, there were several nests discovered in neighbouring counties, particularly Kent. Given the close proximity of these nests, and the known speed at which Asian hornets can travel, we need to be extra alert to any sightings this year. To this end, we have formed an Asian Hornet Action Team (AHAT), which has developed a communications plan to ensure a consistent and coherent message is delivered to all relevant community groups, so that everyone understands the nature of the threat, and what to do about it.

The Surrey-wide Asian Hornet Action Team comprises members from each of the 8 Surrey beekeeping divisions.

Our mission is to:-

* Create wide spread public awareness through a dedicated communication campaign

* Educate the public and beekeepers alike, to enable them to identify Asian hornets

* Make sure everyone knows what to do, if they see an Asian hornet

* Collaborate with the National Bee Unit and other county associations to promote best practice nationwide

What should I do if I come across an Asian hornet nest?

Asian hornet nests are commonly located high up in tree tops but can also be found low down, tucked away inside bushes and hedges. In more urban areas they may choose out buildings such as garages and sheds. If the nest is disturbed the hornets are capable of launching a ‘mass attack’ sending out numerous angry workers to chase/sting the animal or human. It has been found that they will ‘chase’ for a distance of about 30metres. To protect yourself should you accidentally disturb a nest, current advice is to cover your head and neck area with your coat or arms and run for at least 30 metres.

I’m a beekeeper, what can I do to help?

* Get involved with your AHAT team – contact your local association representative
* Do the Asian Hornet Team exercise – no longer needed for insurance purposes, but useful for your own education
* Set up monitoring traps – as soon as temperatures are consistently above 12oC
* Raise awareness, to local clubs, schools, societies etc.
* Please encourage everyone you know to download the Asian Hornet Watch App and become familiar with what Asian hornets look like

I’m a member of the public, what can I do to help?

* Download the free Asian Hornet Watch App – click on the logos at the bottom of this BBKA page
* Familiarise yourself with the Asian Hornet and its look-alikes, as shown on this BBKA page

What do I do if I see an Asian Hornet?

* Take a photo of the hornet, or a video if that is easier, and report it, preferably using the App
* You can also report your sighting online here – requires you to upload a photo
* Alternatively, email your photo or video to  Please ensure you include full location details
* If safe to do so, catch it in a trap, and put the whole trap in a freezer so that the Non-Native Species Secretariat can identify it
Note: It is illegal to catch and release an Asian Hornet

2023 was an exceptional year for Asian Hornet sightings, so how can we best prepare for 2024 and future years?

We are currently awaiting specific guidance based on DNA analysis of captured nests, but in any event, Surrey Beekeepers will follow advice from the National Bee Unit and work in collaboration with them.

Is there a rolling update of Asian Hornet incursions?

Yes, this link will give an up-to-date list.