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Asian Hornet sightings, identification and reporting

The Asian Hornet (Vespa velutina) is a highly aggressive predator of native insects and poses a significant threat to honey bees and other pollinators. It also feeds on other insects, fruit and flowers.

How to identify the Asian Hornet (Vespa velutina)

You can identify Asian Hornets by their:

  • velvety dark/dark brown mid-body
  • black head with an orange/yellow face
  • brown segments on the rear bordered with a fine yellow band
  • brown upper leg segment with yellow lower segments

Slightly smaller than the native European Hornet,  it is the only hornet or wasp with an entirely dark brown or black velvety body, bordered with a fine yellow band.

Natural Environment staff, together with numerous volunteers, will be monitoring reported sightings and tracking hornets back to their nests, where they can be destroyed.

Important guidance for outdoor workers

This advice is for anyone working outside, eg gardeners, branchage contractors, tree surgeons and footpath / countryside maintenance personel etc.

  • examine the area before you start work
  • if you suspect unusual insect activity or a nest, stop
  • stay at lease 10 metres away and do not touch, disturb or cause vibrations around a nest
  • report any possible hornet or nest sightings to the Asian hornet coordinator

Early in the season the nests may be the size of a tennis ball, but from late July can be the size of a football and larger.

Reporting sightings

Asian Hornet Watch app

The ‘Asian Hornet Watch’ app is available to download free of charge from the Apple and Android app stores.

The app allows you to take and send a picture and provides coordinates of the sighting. It also allows us to gather data on sightings.

Email

Send a photograph and location to the Asian hornet coordinator

Phone

call +44 (0) 1534 441633 and leave your name, contact number, the parish where the sighting took place and some brief information on what you saw

Risk to human health

Asian Hornets presents no greater threat to human health than wasps or the native European hornets, but people should be cautious if the suspect Asian Hornets in the area.

Under no circumstances attempt to disturb a nest, Asian Hornets have been known to defend their nest area aggressively. Nests are usually found high in trees but can sometimes be:

  • in a building / roof space
  • be closer to the ground in a bramble bush for example

Nests are usually very well camouflaged amongst foliage.

How to deal with a hornet, wasp or bee sting

Immediately move to a place of safety - one sting can lead to an aggressive reaction by more of the insects.

Apply a cold compress or ice pack to the sting site. Elevate the sting area if possible. Avoid scratching.

Symptoms

  • a sting will usually cause a red, swollen lump. This may be painful and itchy, but symptoms should improve within a few hours to a few days
  • some people have a mild allergic reaction and a larger area around the sting may become swollen and painful

Ask your pharmacist about painkillers, anti-itching creams and antihistamines.

Always seek medical advice if:

  • the sting is in the mouth, throat or near the eyes
  • fever, swollen glands for flu like symptoms develop
  • symptoms don't improve or get worse

Serious allergic reaction (anaphylaxis)

Symptoms and how to deal with anaphylaxis on the NHS website.

Further information

The Asian Hornet was introduced into Europe in 2004 and has since spread throughout France, Spain, Portugal and Italy. It arrived in Jersey in August 2016 and in the following year 17 nests were discovered and destroyed.  55 nests were destroyed in 2018.

Asian Hornet Identification leaflet

Hymettus information sheet on Asian Hornet (Vespa velutina)

Hymettus information sheet on European Hornet (Vespa crabo)

NNSS information sheet on Asian Hornet (Vespa velutina)

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