Vespa velutina, also known as the Asian hornet is an invasive non-native species from Asia.  It arrived in France in 2004 where it spread rapidly.  As a highly effective predator of insects, including honey bees and other beneficial species, it can cause significant losses to bee colonies, and potentially other native species.

Asian hornet was detected for the first time in Tetbury, Gloucestershire in September 2016. A single nest was found and eradicated and no subsequent sightings have been made in the area.  A further sighting was made in Woolacombe, Devon, in September 2017 where a single nest was located and destroyed. Another sighting was made in April 2018 in Lancashire.

It is important to report any suspected sightings of this species as soon as possible.  Vigilence is particularly required in southern parts of England and the areas where other sightings have been made (Devon, Somerset, Gloucestershire, Lancashire).  The Asian hornet is active mainly between April and November (with peak activity recorded in August/September) and is inactive over the winter.

For further information, please refer to the Non Native Species Secretariat.