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Invasive Pest Watch- Asian Hornet invasion

Our bee population is precious to us as we all know, that is why we are so mindful now to plant wildflowers and try to avoid using the more industrial weed killers. There is a very serious threat, however, that has been making its way over from Asia. It has been hitching a ride on imported goods and taking advantage of the weather warming to make its own way towards our shores. 

The Asian Hornet (Vespa velutina) has become a great worry for our native bee population as well as hoverflies and native wasps. They are extremely effective bee killers, following a foraging bee home and then decapitating it and feeding on its body (I know it sounds terribly dramatic!). They quickly breed colonies of up to 10,000 members which can destroy entire bee populations in an area. They will sometimes burrow into a hive and kill all the bees inside. This nasty behaviour along with their striking size rightly earned them the name 'murder hornet' from the mainstream media.    



They look like an extremely large wasp with a little more black on the body and bright yellow legs. They are BIG. The workers are around 2.5cm in length and the queens are 3cm, for comparison, our own wasps are between 1.2cm and 1.7cm. So they are in and around twice the size of our native wasps which is what makes them such a threat.  


The good news;

They are not a common sight here yet. There has so far only been one documented case in Ireland. It was a single specimen that was found alive in Dublin in the summer of 2021. There have been no established nests found here.....yet. 


The bad news;

They have been in the UK since 2016 and they seem to be increasing in numbers there. They have already had to destroy 86 nests there and had 116 confirmed individual sightings. It is only a matter of time before they become a problem over here. 


What to do if you think you have spotted or have caught one?

I can not stress how important it is to report your find. The more we can document and the more knowledge we have about the location and numbers of them means we are in a much better position to keep the problem under control. 

Obviously the first instinct is going to be to kill it but if you can safely do so take a photograph and send it to 


If you think you have located a nest it is critical that you do not try and deal with the problem yourself. Report it to the email address above. Do not disturb the nest in any way and keep your distance.  Asian Hornets are extremely aggressive and if you are stung multiple times it is fatal. Contact a professional pest removal service and let them dispose of it. The most important thing is that you report it to an official body.  


Let's work together to keep our honeybees safe :)