Asian hornets (Vespa velutina) are a species of hornet native to Southeast Asia. They were accidentally introduced to France in 2004 and have since spread throughout Europe, including the United Kingdom.

These hornets are slightly smaller than the native European hornet and have distinctive yellow legs, a dark thorax, and a dark abdomen with a thin yellow band at the end. They are known for their aggressive behaviour and are a threat to honeybees and other pollinators, as they feed on insects and can decimate bee populations.

The UK has been on high alert for the arrival of Asian hornets since 2016, and there have been confirmed sightings in the country since then, most recently in Folkstone, Kent, in April 2023.

If you believe you have spotted an Asian hornet, you should report it to the government’s Asian hornet sightings website or by emailing It’s important to note that Asian hornets are not typically aggressive towards humans unless provoked, but their stings can be painful and in rare cases, may cause an allergic reaction.