Blandford and Sturminster Beekeepers Association
Blandford and Sturminster Beekeepers Association

Asian Hornet

Click on the PDF symbol below for the NNSS identification guide:

Identifying Asian Hornets
asian hornet id.pdf
Adobe Acrobat document [1.4 MB]
Guidance for Groups

Sighting of Asian Hornet in Group Area
Groups are encouraged to support members in the following way:
Create a list of members willing to form an Asian Hornet Action Team (AHAT). Ideally the members should be spread geographically around the group area. Depending on the size of the group there may be as many as a dozen or more in the AHAT. Members do not need to be experienced beekeepers (but having reasonable eyesight would be useful.)
Appoint a Co-ordinator and a deputy to act as Points of Contact for Asian Hornet sightings - could be Swarm or Disease Co-ordinator
Encourage Co-ordinators to become Branch Experts on Asian Hornet
Encourage members to liaise with their neighbour beekeepers (including non-members) and be ready to respond to a local sighting
Maintain a record of details of sightings including location & person
Liaise with other Branches through their Co-ordinator to provide ‘neighbourly’ support
Support County-wide training through CBKA
Assist in provision of equipment such as: shrimp nets, traps, camera, binoculars, sample jars/pots with lids, compass, mobile phones with GPS, large scale maps, notebooks & pens, padded envelopes for posting samples, card with contact information for local SBI, NBU etc.
Ensure your Group website is up to date (link to CBKA website if appropriate)
Guidance for Beekeepers
Contact your neighbour beekeepers (including non-members) and discuss plans for a local sighting of an Asian Hornet, using this guidance where appropriate.
Have a laminated copy of the Non – Native Species Secretariat (NNSS) Asian Hornet Alert attached to the underside of the roof on one of your hives.
Actions to be taken on Sighting of Asian Hornet.
Report to the NNSS – they will take no further action until evidence (Asian Hornet or Photograph) of the Asian Hornet is produced. ( Also report to the Local Group Secretary and CBKA Secretary.
Report to the group AH Co-ordinator and the local Bee Inspector
Be part of/lead a surveillance team from group members.
Be aware of how to recognise Asian Hornet. Use Asian Hornet Watch App. (
Be sure to have suitable equipment with you. See Guidance for Groups
Work in pairs.
Ensure records are kept of sightings and other relevant information
Do not release details of location or personal details – no press disclosure
Be sensitive to land owners and general public
Act with caution and care
Take video recordings or obtain samples where possible
Report and send evidence to the National bee Unit (NBU)
Confirm to CBKA Secretary
If appropriate start noting flight lines.
Action Flow Chart
(Suggest laminated copy in apiary)

Suspected sighting of AH in the apiary by beekeeper
Call AHAT Co-ordinator
Co-ordinator will contact 2 / 3 AHAT members to attend site
Identify “Lead” member to co-ordinate activity on site
“Lead” Member will liaise with the nominated AHAT members and Beekeeper to arrange days and times to attend
The AHAT Co-ordinator will advise neighbouring Apiaries to be vigilant and also keep CBKA and group secretary updated
The Primary objectives of the on-site AHAT team are to:
1) Confirm the sighting with photographs/video
2) Capture of a sample for sending to NBU
3) Start to obtain flight lines if possible
If positive sighting confirmed by AHAT with evidence,
“Lead” member to inform local SBI /NBU/NNISS with photograph /video and or sample and inform AHAT Co-ordinator.
Co-ordinator to update neighbouring Apiaries to observe/ establish flight lines if hornets present
Await arrival of NBU to take over co-ordination
During this period it is important to maintain confidentiality whilst also maintaining vigilance. NBU need confidentiality whilst identifying location and status of AH colony.
If no sighting confirmed by AHAT
“Lead” member to inform AHAT co-ordinator so that records can be kept and neighbouring Apiaries updated.
Instructions for Beekeepers in obtaining a sample of an Asian Hornet for identification purposes.
Contacting your Local Beekeeping Association may give you access to a group of volunteers (Asian Hornet Action Team) that will help you in getting the evidence that is needed.
wide area, photographic evidence, possible video, will be the only option apart from setting hornet traps over a wide area.
The Asian Hornets will often approach the hive from behind and remain underneath, emerging with a bee that had missed the landing board or ready to take a returning bee as they approach the hive entrance. It is this moment, when the Hornet is hovering, that is the easiest time to collect a specimen. This can be done using a child’s shrimp net and putting the insect in a jar or small bottle or by striking the insect to the ground with a racket of some kind before placing it in a jar.
The speed of flight of the Hornet is impressive and often the insect seems to disappear.
Several pairs of eyes are helpful in tracking their movements. Placing skirts around the base of the hive is helpful in keeping the Hornets more visible. This is now routinely done in France.
Once the Hornet has collected a bee it flies a short distance (2 to 5 metres) to a bush, bracken or branch. Whilst hanging upside down by its long back legs it butchers the bee by first removing its abdomen and then its head. This process takes a little under a minute. If there are no physical barriers to the contrary the Hornet will now fly directly back to its nest. A compass bearing of such a flight will give a good indication of the nest’s direction. Two or more of these flight lines from different positions will allow a triangulated position of the nest to be obtained.
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