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Historic UK Asian Hornet Incursions

Explanation of tables

Since 2016, there have been several incursions into the UK of the Asian Hornet. Various members of the National Bee Unit are often asked questions about these events, including how many hornets, where they were, were they related to others already destroyed etc. The following two tables you can find in the links give a summary of the information to date (February 2023).

Asian Hornet sightings 2016-22

Date initial sighting confirmed Location County Reported by Lone hornet or
Possible route into UK Date nest
Nest tree/shrub
type and height
19th September 2016 Tetbury Gloucestershire Beekeeper Nest No information 28th September 2016 16.8m in Cypress tree
30th September 2016 Lower Langford North Somerset Beekeeper Lone hornet Likely Queen No information Trapped Spring 2016 reported 29th September N/a N/a
13th October         2016 Bath North Somerset Member of the public Lone hornet Found in camping gear after trip to France N/a N/a
3rd March 2017
(Confirmed from
Photo as hornet destroyed)
Central Belt Scotland Pest controller Lone hornet Likely Queen Supermarket distribution centre N/a N/a
26th September 2017 Woolacombe North Devon Beekeeper Nest No information 28th September 2017 1.2m in Escalonia hedge
13th April 2018 Bury Lancashire Member of the public Lone hornet Found in cauliflower from Lincolnshire - probably originated in
N/a N/a
22nd August
N/a Beekeeper Lone hornet On Ferry from Poole to
N/a N/a
3rd September 2018 Fowey South Cornwall Beekeeper Primary Nest No information 6th September 2018 0.5m in Bramble bush
7th September
Liskeard South Cornwall Beekeeper Lone hornet
Diploid Drone
From Fowey nest N/a N/a
9th September
near Hull
East Yorkshire Member of the public Lone hornet Householder recently
returned from France
N/a N/a
20th September 2018 Fowey South Cornwall NBU surveillance after first nest discovered and destroyed. Secondary nest No information 21st September 2018 7m in Elm tree
24th September 2018 New Alresford Hampshire Member of the public Nest No information 25th September 2018 0.4m in Euonymus japonicus shrub
26th September 2018 Brockenhurst Hampshire Member of the public and beekeeper Nest No information 4th October 2018 15m in London Plane tree
28th September 2018 Guildford Surrey Beekeeper Lone hornet Found in grille of a new Mini car thought to have been delivered from mainland Europe. N/a N/a
15th October 2018 Dungeness Kent Member of the public Lone hornet 2 males May have blown in
across Channel after stormy weather
N/a N/a
3rd July 2019 New Milton Hampshire Member of the public Lone hornet No information N/a N/a
2nd September 2019 Drayton Bassett,
Staffordshire Beekeeper Nest No information 4th September 2019 20m up in Spruce tree
9th September 2019 Tenterden, near Ashford Kent Member of the public (fruit farmer) Lone hornet No information N/a N/a
1st October         2019 Highcliffe, Christchurch Dorset Beekeeper (had seen poster put up by inspector as part of the New Milton surveillance) Secondary Nest No information 3rd October 2019 15m in Oak tree
10th October       2019 Highcliffe, Christchurch Dorset NBU surveillance after first nest discovered Primary Nest No information 10th October 2019 Ground level in a log in brambles
8th September 2020 Gosport Hampshire Member of public and beekeeper in quick succession Nest No information 11th September 2020 6m in Apple Tree
7th October 2021 Ascot Berkshire Beekeeper Nest No information 11th October 2021 25m in Black Poplar
29th October 2021 Portsmouth Hampshire Member of public Nest No information 31st October 2021 20m in Norway Maple
26th April 2022 Felixstowe Essex Beekeeper  Lone hornet Near the port! N/a N/a
24th August 2022 Chelmsford Essex Member of public Lone hornet No information N/a N/a
27th September 2022 Rayleigh Essex Beekeeper Nest No information 30th September 8m in Sycamore
30th September2022 Dover Kent Member of public Lone hornet No information N/a N/a


Asian Hornet nest analysis 2016 - 2022

Location Date Destroyed  Size of nest (diameter) Number of combs Sex of adults (morphological) Brood present N. paternal genotypes (estimated)
Tetbury 28th September 2016 23cm 5 13♂, 57♀ all stages 1
Woolacombe  28th September 2017 27cm 7 166♀ all stages 2 to 3
Fowey 1 6th September 2018 15cm 3 3♂ no eggs or larvae 1
Fowey 2 21st September 2018 25cm 4 7♂, 8♀ all stages b
New Alresford 25th September 2018 25cm 4 28♂, 94♀ all stages 2
Brockenhurst 4th October 2018 24cm 3 5♂, 13♀ no eggs  2
Drayton Bassett 4th September 2019 n.d. c n.d. c 5♀ all stages 1
Christchurch 1 3rd October 2019 13cm 2 1♀queen eggs & early larvae 1
Christchurch 2 10th October 2019 n.d. c 2 no adults present no eggs 1
Gosport 11th September 2020 21cm 3 23♂, 5♀ All stages 1
Ascot 11th October 2021 35cm 6 83♀, including Queen no eggs 1
Portsmouth 31st October 2021 31cm 4 22♂, 48♀ All stages 2
Rayleigh 30th September 2022 40 cm 6 174♂, 113♀ All stages 1

a Individuals which were identified morphologically as males but were diploid.

b The genetic diversity data were calculated for the individuals for Fowey 1 and 2 combined, given they were offspring from a single queen.

c No data; nest too damaged.

Information in this table is taken from the following paper published 11th November 2020 "Managing incursions of Vespa velutina nigrithorax in the UK: an emerging threat to apiculture" Eleanor P. Jones, Chris Conyers, Victoria Tomkies, Nigel Semmence, David Fouracre, Maureen Wakefield & Kirsty Stainton