Asian hornet: how to spot and report the pest

Advice on what to do if you spot this pest of honey bees.

Yellow-legged Asian hornets (Vespa velutina nigrithorax) are a non-native invasive species from Asia which are aggressive predators of several species, including honey bees and other pollinators. The Asian hornet can cause significant loss to bee colonies and other native species. Monitoring for its arrival is strongly recommended.

Between 2016 and 2022, there have been 23 confirmed Asian hornet sightings in the United Kingdom. While there has been no confirmed Asian hornet sighting in Scotland, 2023 saw a significant increase in confirmed sightings in England with 72 nests in 56 locations.

Scotland’s Contingency Plan

Scottish Government has developed a Contingency Plan to tackle any incidences of this invasive insect in Scotland. This Contingency Plan will ensure that any incursion is dealt with swiftly to avoid the insect establishing here.

How to spot an Asian hornet

  • smaller than our native hornet
  • adult workers measure from 25 mm in length and queens 30 mm
  • have a dark brown or black velvety body except for the fourth abdominal segment which has a yellow band
  • have yellow tipped legs
  • its face is orange with two brownish red compound eyes

If you think you have seen an Asian hornet or suspect they are present within your colonies you must report it to the GB Non-Native Species Secretariat (NNSS).

Guidance on how to identify an Asian hornet and report any suspected sightings is available on the GB non-native species secretariat website.

More information on the Asian hornet is available on BeeBase.

How to report an Asian hornet

If you think you have seen an Asian hornet, please notify the GB Non-Native Species Secretariat (NNSS) immediately. In the first instance sightings should be reported through the free Asian Hornet Watch App, available for Android and iPhone

Other methods of reporting the hornet also include using the NNSS online notification form. Finally, you can send any suspect sightings to the Non-Native Species email address . Where possible, a photo, the location of the sighting and a description of the insect seen should be included. Please only attempt to take a photograph if it is safe to do so.

For further help and advice contact


For further help and advice contact your local Scottish Government area office. or

If you think you have seen an Asian hornet, please notify the GB Non-Native Species Secretariat (NNSS) by email:

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