Asian hornet: pest-specific contingency plan

This plan sets out the role of the Scottish Government in response to a suspected or confirmed incursion of the Asian hornet (Vespa velutina nigrithorax) within Scotland: the actions to be taken as well as governance, roles and responsibilities.

Background Information

14. The yellow-legged or Asian hornet (Vespa velutina nigrithorax) is an exotic predator of several inspect species, including honey bees.

15. It is native to Northern India, China, the Indo-Chinese peninsula, and the Indonesian archipelago. As such, the climatic conditions of its native environment resemble those of Southern Europe. Several studies have indicated, however, that parts of the United Kingdom would have a suitable climate for the Asian hornet to establish, including parts of the Scottish lowlands.

16. Globalisation and international trade in diverse commodities around the world have increased the risks of importing exotic honey bee pest threats into the UK.

17. Asian hornets were first officially recognised in France in 2004. It is believed to have been accidentally imported with merchandise from Asia.

18. Between 2016 and 2022, there have been 23 confirmed Asian hornet sightings in the United Kingdom. In 2023 there was a significant increase in confirmed sightings: 72 nests in 56 locations, located in the south of England. All nests were destroyed. Up to November 2023 there has only been one credible incursion of Asian hornet in Scotland: an Asian hornet was discovered in a supermarket distribution centre in the central belt, the insect died on site and a confirming sample was not conserved.

19. Asian hornet is one of thirty invasive non-native species identified as having a high risk of arriving, establishing and impacting biodiversity and ecosystems in Scotland in the next 10 years (Roy et al, 2023[1]).



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