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.

Official Action on Suspicion

Identification Information

20. Information on how to identify an Asian hornet is available on the following websites/apps:

a. Scottish Government (also via


c. BeeBase[2]

d. Non-Native Species Secretariat[3]

e. Asian Hornet Watch App available for Android and iPhone

21. Information on how to identify an Asian hornet is contained in Annex A.

22. A flowchart of the process to be followed from initial report to recovery is contained in Annex B.

Suspected sightings/alerts and initial triage

23. Suspected sightings/alerts may be generated from several different sources and, therefore, suspected sightings/alerts might be received through a variety of different routes.

24. Suspected sightings can be reported directly to the NNSS via free Asian Hornet Watch app (for Android and iPhone), an online reporting form or by emailing Sightings reported via the NNSS will be triaged initially by the NNSS and then forwarded to the Scottish Government’s Bees mailbox at .

25. The preferred mechanism for reporting a potential sighting is to use the Asian Hornet Watch App because it provides clear guidance on species differentiation and records location and contact detail information. If the app cannot be used, the beekeeper or member of the public should be encouraged to report it via the Non-native Species Alert on the UKCEH website or via In exceptional circumstances reports can also be made to the Bees Mailbox.

Official action on Suspicion

26. On receipt of a reported sighting, the Honey Bee Health Delivery Lead will liaise immediately with the Honey Bee Health Policy Team, Honey Bee Health Veterinary Advisor, and SASA Senior Entomologist to confirm whether (a) inspectors should be despatched immediately to the site or (b) further information needs to be gathered from the reporting individual before deciding whether an inspection is needed (see 29. below)

Official Action on Credible Sighting

Determining a “credible sighting”:

27. Sightings are considered credible if there is a clear photograph of an Asian hornet included taken from the site, or if there is strong supporting evidence such as information on the characteristics and behaviour of the insect. Many instances of suspect Asian hornet are reported each year but the vast majority are sightings of wasps and other similar insects. It is therefore crucial to determine whether further investigation is in fact warranted.

28. In the first instance, if not available with the report, further information should be gathered to determine the likelihood of the sighting being an Asian hornet. The Honey Bee Health Delivery Lead or a member of the inspection team will complete the initial investigation report template, and then contact the person who reported the sighting, either by email or phone (depending on the mode of contact indicated by the reporting individual) and ask for additional information to help identify the insect including where the insect was found (e.g., in luggage, packaging, grocery item, or came from a container or vehicle originating outwith Scotland or the wider UK) and, if safe and possible, a photograph or video confirming the sighting.

29. Photographs of nests or downloaded pictures from the internet do not constitute “credible sighting” and will not be taken further.

30. If sufficient evidence is provided to satisfy the criteria of a credible suspicion of the insect’s presence, the Honey Bee Health Delivery Lead will initiate operational next steps on this Contingency Plan, including despatching bee inspectors to undertake an immediate investigation and establishing an Operational Response Team on standby.



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