Bee killing Asian hornet found in Gloucestershire

An Asian hornet Credit: GB non-native species secretariat/Jean Haxaire

The first British sighting of a hornet which kills honey bees has been confirmed by Government experts in Tetbury in Gloucestershire.

Work is now underway to find and destroy any nests belonging to the non-native species.

The Asian hornet (Vespa velutina) can grow up to 2.5cm (one inch) long.

Experts say they pose no great threat to people, but they do prey on important pollinating insects such as honey bees.

How to spot an Asian hornet:

  • Slightly smaller than native hornet

  • Dark abdomen, 4th segment yellow

  • Bright yellow tips to legs

  • Entirely brown or black thorax

  • Most likely to be seen close to bee hives

  • Source: GB non-native species secretariat

A three-mile surveillance zone has been set up around Tetbury and bee inspectors have been deployed to use infrared cameras and traps to locate any nests.

The Asian hornet found in Gloucestershire Credit: DEFRA

The hornet that was found has since been killed and sent for DNA testing at the National Bee Unit in North Yorkshire to help establish how it arrived in the UK.

More advice on what you should do if you think you've seen an Asian hornet can be found on the non-native species website

Defra also advise that anyone who believes they have found a nest should not go near near it and should report it to