Queen marking colour for 2017 - YELLOW

BeeBase British Beekeepers Association

Asian Hornet – Vespa velutina

As many of you will know the Asian hornet has now been found in the UK. Your committee have taken the view that our area will be invaded sooner rather than later. We must therefore take steps to inform ALL of our members of the potential dangers as well as the way forward with ways to combat the threat.

Essential reading:

Vespa velutina  
Courtesy The Animal and  Plant
Health Agency (APHA), Crown Copyright

As with our native hornet, Vespa crabro, only the fertilised queen will overwinter. From February onwards the queens will emerge on warm days to feed on sweet foods to raise their energy levels. This means that sweet baits are highly attractive at this time of year to lure queens into traps.

Every queen hornet trapped in the spring will reduce the number of hornet nests in the area and reports from France suggest reductions of up to 90% may be achieved.

You can find a PDF “A Simple Monitoring Trap” above courtesy of the National Bee Unit.

6000 hornets in an average nest!

Asian hornet nests are very large and usually found in tall trees but man-made structures may also be used. An average nest may have 6000 hornets and in July the workers will start raiding honey bee colonies to obtain protein food for feeding to larvae. At this time of year traps should use a protein lure. This situation may continue into November.

Around September the colony will start to produce queens and drones. 350 queens will be produced on average and these mated queens will hibernate over winter while the rest of the colony dies out. Thus traps deployed in the autumn will help reduce the hornet population the following year.


Slightly smaller than our native hornet.
Workers up to 25mm long (1”).

Dark abdomen, 4th segment yellow.

Yellow ends to all legs.

Thorax entirely black/brown.

Courtesy The Animal and  Plant Health Agency (APHA),
Crown Copyright

We strongly recommend that beekeepers sign up to BeeBase. In the event that the Asian hornet arrives in our area, efforts to contain it will be seriously hampered if the NBU don’t know where vulnerable apiaries are located. Affected beekeepers will also receive notification by email.

More information on the Hornet Workshop page

Key Features of a Monitoring Trap

Roof to stop rain filling trap.

9mm hole in cap.
Allows Asian hornet to
enter but not European

5mm escape hole,
if required.

Mesh to stop drowning.

Base removable to
change bait.

Asian Hornet Baits

Spring: sweet
Summer & Autumn: sweet + protein (fish or meat)

What works

What doesn’t


Site Map Mobile Home Back