The Asian hornet (Vespa velutina) is an invasive species that is native to Southeast Asia.
It was first discovered in France in 2004 and has since spread to other parts of Europe, including the UK.
Asian hornets are smaller than the European hornet and have distinctive yellow legs, a dark brown or black velvety body, and a yellow-orange band on their fourth abdominal segment.
They are known for their aggressive behaviour and their ability to prey on honeybees, which can have serious implications for beekeepers and the ecosystem as a whole.
It is important for people to be able to recognize Asian hornets and report any sightings to the relevant authorities. If you believe you have seen an Asian hornet, you can report it to the non-native species secretariat by email (firstname.lastname@example.org), via the UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology website or by using the Asian Hornet Watch app which you can download for Android or IOS.
There is also a factsheet that you can view or download from the NNSS website here.
In the UK, the first sighting of an Asian hornet was reported in 2016 in Tetbury, Gloucestershire.
Every year since then, there have been several other confirmed sightings across the country, particularly in the south of England.
The UK government has implemented a response plan to monitor and control the spread of Asian hornets, which includes tracking and trapping them, destroying nests, and encouraging the public to report sightings.