A useful update from the BeeBase resource/National Bee Unit regarding the Asian Hornet:
Following recent press articles there have been many reports of potential Asian hornet, (Vespa velutina) sightings across the UK. We would like to re-assure everybody that there have been no confirmed sightings of Asian hornets in the UK, and so far all hornet reportings received by the National Bee Unit have been identified as the native European hornet, Vespa crabro.
Experts at the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology confirm that the hornet picture taken in Kent and featured in the press is not an Asian hornet – which would be darker in colouration, and that the size suggests European hornet.
The Asian hornet or yellow-legged hornet, is smaller than our native hornet, with characteristic yellow legs, a dark velvety thorax, and a dark abdomen with a distinctive yellow band on the fourth segment.
We are aware of the potential impacts they could have on honey bees and have contingency plans in place to remove them if they are identified. This includes comprehensive monitoring and teams ready to destroy any confirmed nests.
For those who think they have seen an Asian hornet please first read the Asian hornet ID sheet which outlines the main differences between the native European hornet and this Asian hornet.