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Where to report sightings of Asian hornets and send in samples

Where to report sightings of Asian hornets and send in samples

If you think you have seen an Asian hornet, please notify the Great British Non Native Species Secretariat alert email address at alertnonnative@ceh.ac.uk immediately. Additionally, you can report sightings on their website. As well as this function, the website provides a great deal of information about the wide ranging work that is being done to tackle invasive species and tools to facilitate those working in this area.

There have only been two confirmed occurrences in GB to date. However, reporting sightings is essential to maintain early detection if this species does turn up.

A large proportion of the records we receive are of the native European Hornet, Vespa crabro, which is actually slightly larger than the Asian Hornet, but with a lot more yellow on the abdomen. The queens, as with other bees and wasps, are larger, and are particularly noticeable in spring when they start looking for nesting sites after spending the winter inactive. The queens then set up a colony which disperse in late summer when hornets again become especially noticeable and are often attracted to outdoor lights at night time as well. Other reports include other wasp species, especially the larger queens, bees and a range of wasp and bee mimic hoverflies.

The Bees, Wasps & Ants Recording Society (BWARS) have an excellent website on which more information on native species can be found. For example, information on the European Hornet can be found at:
http://www.bwars.com/sites/www.bwars.com/files/info_sheets/Vespa-crabro-info-sheet.pdf

For an overview of the Asian Hornet and its status in GB please see:
https://secure.fera.defra.gov.uk/nonnativespecies/factsheet/factsheet.cfm?speciesId=3826

For detailed information and help on identification of the Asian Hornet please also see the following factsheets:

https://secure.fera.defra.gov.uk/beebase/downloadDocument.cfm?id=698



It is also important that beekeepers sign up to BeeBase. In the event that the Asian hornet (or any other exotic threat to honey bee colonies) arrives here, efforts to contain it will be seriously jeopardised if we don’t know where vulnerable apiaries are located.

Finally, if you suspect that you have found an Asian hornet, you can send a suspect sample to the NBU laboratory for examination. Use a suitable sturdy container (cardboard rather than plastic) and provide as much detail as possible about the hornet and where you found it. See How to Send Samples into the Laboratory page. Digital photographs are also very useful to help with identification.




Fera have a great deal of commitment toward the care and growth of bee populations in the UK and abroad. Our Bee ecotoxicology work is of great importance within protecting these vunerable pollenators. We help chemical manufacturers bring their products to market with full regulatory compliance - providing the greatest amount of positive benefits to the environment and crop yield, while mitigating risks which can cause species such as bee populations to deteriorate.

More information about Feras bee ecotoxicology offer can be found here.