The rise of the Asian hornet

The rise of the Asian hornet

Sep 06, 2023Nicky Monina

In the tranquil landscapes of the United Kingdom, amidst its picturesque countryside and vibrant flora, a formidable intruder has silently made its presence known: the Asian hornet queen (Vespa velutina). In recent years, this unwelcome guest from distant shores has captured the attention of researchers, conservationists, and concerned citizens alike. As it establishes a foothold in the British Isles, the Asian hornet queen has emerged as a topic of both fascination and apprehension. This introduction embarks on a journey to uncover the mysteries of Asian hornet queens in the UK, shedding light on their distinctive characteristics, impact on local ecosystems, and the concerted efforts being made to safeguard the delicate balance of nature in this enchanting part of the world.

Why it's essential for people to be informed about Asian hornet queens and how to stay protected:

Asian hornet queens have invaded various parts of Europe and other regions, posing a significant threat to local ecosystems. They compete with native species for resources, which can disrupt the balance of local ecosystems.

Asian hornets are known to be formidable predators of honeybees. They can rapidly decimate entire honeybee colonies, which is detrimental to pollination and can have cascading effects on agriculture and food production. One bee-keeper in Kent said that Asian hornets had already caused 10 out of 17 of his hives to be lost in rapid succession. Even today it’s been confirmed that there have been more sightings of the Asian hornet in 2023 in the UK than in the past six years combined.  It is likely that they are now established in the UK. This is likely to have devastating consequences for an already at risk bee population.

While Asian hornets generally do not seek out humans to attack, they can become aggressive when they perceive a threat to their nests. Their stings can be painful and, in rare cases, may cause severe allergic reactions or even fatalities.


How to stay informed and protected from Asian Hornet Queens?

Learn to identify Asian hornets and their nests. Familiarize yourself with their physical characteristics, such as their size (larger than typical hornets) and distinctive coloration (yellow-orange with dark brown or black stripes).

 If you suspect you've spotted an Asian hornet or its nest, report it to local authorities or pest control agencies. Early detection is crucial for controlling their spread.

If you encounter an Asian hornet nest, do not attempt to remove it yourself. These hornets can be aggressive when defending their nests. Instead, contact professionals who are experienced in safely removing them.

If you're in an area where Asian hornets are known to be present, wear protective clothing when working outdoors, especially in areas with flowering plants. This can include long sleeves, trousers, gloves, and a hat with a net to cover your face, in addition, you can use incognito’s insect repellent spray to stay extra protected and avoid stings not only from Asian Hornets, but also from ticks and mosquitoes. 

Beekeepers should take extra precautions to protect their hives from Asian hornet attacks. This may include installing hornet traps or screens around the hives.

 Share information about Asian hornets with your community to raise awareness and promote early detection and reporting.

It’s not just Asian hornets that are on the rise, with the current heatwave coming back to the UK, we have seen an increased number of mosquitoes, and ticks.  The Asian tiger mosquito is powering upwards through Europe and recently prompted Parisian authorities to fumigate the city to prevent the spread of Dengue which they can carry.  Just one infected bite can cause rapid transmission in close knit communities. With France separated from the UK by 20 miles, and mosquitoes known enjoy public transport, it’s extra important to stay vigilant.


Protect yourself with incognito’s full range of insect repellents. Back in August, Sky News reported that a man was left with a severe allergy from a tick bite. Christopher Goldman has developed a alpha-gal syndrome, from a tick bite, leaving him with a severe allergy from meat, resulting in him only wearing animal free cloths and eat meat free products. For more information on ticks check out our Are you Tick Aware?

Protect yourself and your loved ones from the disease that those insects carry. Check out our full range of products and stay bite free.


 Follow us on TikTok and social media for more tips and advice

More articles

Comments (9)

  • Why have you not adjusted your article re the Asian Hornet aka THE YELLOW-LEGGED HORNET? Your title picture is correct, thank you, but all the others are certainly not. Please correct or the public will be wasting the time of those trying to eradicate it with false reports!

    Mrs Linda Bryant
  • Totally inaccurate. Do not put this out. You have obviously never seen an Asian Hornet.

    Maggie Heal
  • Were you assigned to write this at the end of the day? It started out ok then as soon as you got to the description it rapidly went down hill with wrong detail as to it’s colour and size, photo of a completely different type of hornet and then wrong advice on how to go about reporting any sightings. You really should get your facts right and get it checked by someone who knows what they are talking about before publishing stuff like this!

  • So terribly wrong, dissinformation is dangerous and a waste of time

    Simon croson
  • Yes, you have it all wrong. Never mind. Take this post down and do it again properly. D-

    Helen Tworkowski
  • Not only are your images completely wrong – inexcusably – your advice as to what to next is wrong too! People should download the Asian Hornet Watch app and use that to identify and report a honet. Check out the BBKA’s website for mpe detail.

    Manek Dubash
  • Your photo and description are completely wrong! The invasive species we are dealing with in the UK – Yellow legged Asian hornet (Vespa Vellutina) – is SMALLER than our native European hornets. They appear mostly back with a yellow/orange bottom segment, orange face and yellow legs.

    Angus Deuchar
  • Photos of Vespa mandarinia and Wasp…please use correct pictures.

    Tom Vr
  • What is the picture you are using? Asian hornets have dark grey wings! Get your facts right!

    Mrs Cathy Edge

Leave a comment