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Home > Identification, reporting of sightings and risks to health

You can identify Asian Hornets by their:

• velvety dark/dark brown mid-body (can appear black)

• black head with an orange/yellow face

• brown segments on the rear bordered with a fine yellow band

• brown upper leg segment with yellow lower segments

They are slightly smaller than the native European Hornet, it is the only hornet or wasp with an entirely dark brown or black velvety body, bordered with a fine yellow band.

Asian hornets build two types of nests. The primary nest (usually built in spring) is often found on/or near the ground in foliage such as bramble bushes, decaying logs or garden sheds. They are usually well hidden. These may be as small as a tennis ball.

The secondary nests (usually found July to late autumn) are usually found high up in trees but can be found in the eaves of buildings/roof space. These tend to be larger the size of a football or larger.

Hornets have been known to defend their nest areas aggressively so beware.

Reporting of sightings

When you see a hornet, take a picture, record the date, time and location* and a description. Please can you then report this using the Asian Hornet Watch app. Please download the Asian Hornet Watch app free of charge from the Apple and Android app stores. The app provides an identification guide to help check which species you have seen and an opportunity to take a picture, record and report your sightings.

There are two people monitoring these daily and will respond within 24 hours.

Alternatively, you can report online at: www.nonnativespecies.org/alerts/asianhornet or by email alertnonnative@ceh.ac.uk . The response time may take longer this way.

In addition, please could send a picture, location and the details to the Asian Hornet Action Team (AHAT) at the following email address ahat@swhbk.org.uk .

We also have an AHAT hot line 07849 102621, please leave your name, number, location and brief details of the sighting.

* In the New Forest area, a postcode is often not specific enough, it can cover a very large area. If it was sighted in your garden then that is OK. Otherwise, please take down Ordnance Survey map grid co-ordinates if possible. You can also use an app on your phone like “What3words” free to download from Apple or Android ; that gives an exact location down to a few meters accuracy. Whilst they are now commonly used by the emergency services, this may not be the case with all organisations.

Risks to human health

Asian hornets present no greater threats to human health than wasps or the native European hornets, but people should be cautious if they suspect they have seen an Asian hornet.

We would advise you not to try and catch the hornets unless you have been trained to do so and have no allergies, as we would hate to add to the pressure on the NHS at this time. The Asian hornet sting is longer than a bee sting; it is said to be 6 mm long. A normal beekeeper’s suit does not protect you, the sting can go through the fabric.

How to deal with a hornet sting

A wasp or hornet sting causes a sudden, sharp pain at first. A swollen red mark may then form on your skin, which can last a few hours and may be painful and itchy.

Sometimes a larger area around the sting can be painful, red and swollen for up to a week. This is a minor allergic reaction that is not usually anything to worry about.

A few people may experience a serious allergic reaction (anaphylaxis), causing breathing difficulties, dizziness and a swollen face or mouth. Dial 999 for an ambulance immediately if you have these symptoms.

For more guidance refer to the NHS

WHAT TO DO IF YOU SEE SOMETHING SUSPICIOUS?

STOP! Assess the situation. Stay 10 metres away and don’t touch, disturb or cause vibrations around a nest. Take a photograph if it is safe to do so. Report any possible hornet or nest sightings by using the Asian Hornet Watch App, emailing ahat@swhbk.org.uk or calling our Asian Hornet hotline on 07849 102621.

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