Tens of thousands of Asian hornets heading for UK, experts say

Experts fear tens of thousands of Asian hornets will invade the UK this year, after numbers rocketed last summer. In 2022 there were just two sightings, and last year there were 78.

The hornets have a powerful, painful sting and are able to tear through a bee hive in hours, destroying the colony. The British Beekeepers Association said there have already been four sightings this year, months ahead of their normal season

The sting is deadly to people with allergies and a swarm attack can kill large mammals.

The BBKA has now set up an app and is urging the public to report any sightings. The Asian Hornet Watch app is available for iPhone and Android.

The main differences are in the size and the stripes. While Asian hornets have dark abdomens with fine orange stripes, their European counterpart have yellow abdomens. The Asian hornet is 25mm long and the European is 30-35mm.

Earlier this year, the Department for Environment Food & Rural Affairs confirmed that a hornet was captured on March 11, after being spotted in Ash in Kent. Last year the first hornet was not seen until April 11. The specimen was confirmed to be an Asian hornet after it was analysed by experts in a lab.

This article previously contained comments attributed to the British Beekeepers' Association, which have been removed.