Map of where Asian hornets have been spotted in the UK

Asian hornet wasp
-Credit: (Image: AFP)

People have been urged to report any sightings of Asian hornets after a record year for the invasive bee-killing species.

Our map shows where nests have been destroyed and insects captured. In 2023 there were a record 57 confirmed sightings of bee-killing Asian hornets, more than double recorded in the previous seven years combined. A total of 74 nests were destroyed last year.

This year there have already been eight confirmed sightings, including one insect captured in March - the earliest the invasive species has ever been seen in the UK.

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So far this year, five hornets have been captured in East Sussex, two in Kent, and one in Romford, London. The sightings have raised fears that nests may have been missed last year, allowing fertile queens - known as “gynes” - to fly out and start nests.

The Environment Department (Defra) said Asian hornets are not yet established in the UK but that early trapping is essential in its efforts to keep them out. Now the UK’s chief plant health officer Nicola Spence has called for beekeepers and the wider public to be on the lookout for Asian hornets.

She said: “By ensuring we are alerted to possible sightings as early as possible, the public can help us take swift and effective action to stamp out the threat posed by Asian hornets.

“While the Asian hornet poses no greater risk to human health than other wasps or hornets, they can damage honey bee colonies and harm other pollinators.

“Please continue to be vigilant for any Asian hornets and if you think you’ve spotted one, report your sighting through the Asian hornet app or online.”

A single Asian hornet - described as the “lion of the insect world” - can devour up to 50 honey bees at a time. One hornet nest can produce an average of 350 potential queens and male hornets for mating, as well as up to 6,000 workers.

Since Asian hornets were first spotted at Tetbury, Gloucestershire in September 2016, there have been 109 confirmed sightings, including 85 nests, which were all destroyed. Asian hornets are distinctive and can be identified by their very dark body, wide orange stripe on the fourth abdomen section and yellow leg ends.

You can look at the map below and For guidance on how to report and spot Asian hornets, go to:

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