Asian Hornets in Europe

The Asian Hornet poses a significant threat to the UK’s wildlife and the RSPB urges the public to report any sightings to the relevant authorities.

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A closeup of an Asian Hornet.
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Asian Hornets in Europe

Asian Hornets were inadvertently brought to France in 2004, most likely in a shipment of goods imported from east Asia. Since arriving in France, the species has spread rapidly. It is now present across France and is moving into adjoining countries.

The threat from Asian Hornets

The Asian Hornet is a non-native species in the UK, as it hails from east Asia and could not arrive in the UK naturally.

The concern around the Asian Hornet is that it is a significant predator of bees. In France, it has consumed large numbers of bees, including the well-known European honey bee and many lesser-known solitary and colonial bee species. 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.

Rolling updates and information on previous sightings can be found on the website of the National Bee Unit. 

How you can help

The Governments of the UK have robust strategies in place to respond to any reports of Asian Hornets in the UK. However, the Governments can only enact these strategies once Asian Hornets have been reported to them.

Consequently, the RSPB urges everyone to be vigilant for Asian Hornets and to report any suspected sightings to the relevant authorities.

The Asian Hornet can be easily distinguished from the native European Hornet, a species that poses no threat to UK ecosystems or bees.  

How to recognise an Asian Hornet


When viewed from above, Asian Hornets have a dark thorax and a primarily dark abdomen, with an orange or yellow fourth segment on the body. European Hornets, however, have thick yellow bands across their whole abdomen and a red brown thorax.


An immediately identifiable feature of the Asian Hornet is its bright yellow leg tips compared to the European’s brown legs. 


It's also possible to separate the two species on their size. The European Hornet is much larger than the Asian Hornet, with workers measuring 25mm and the queens often reaching 35mm. Asian Hornets are generally between 20-24mm, only slightly larger than the Common Wasp.

A closeup of a European Hornet eating a grape.

Have you seen an Asian Hornet?

We would be grateful for your support in helping to raise awareness and encourage reporting of any further sightings.

Full details of how to ID Asian Hornets can be found on the Asian Hornet Alert page at The GB Non-native Species Secretariat (NNSS), along with alert posters and ID sheets. Any suspected sightings should ideally be reported with a photograph via the Asian Hornet watch app or the online reporting form. 

How to report Asian Hornets

If you think you have spotted an Asian Hornet, you can report your sighting online with the UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology. 

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