St. Andrew's Douzaine, Guernsey

Asian Hornet Watch

Asian Hornets

Asian Hornets (Vespa velutina) have spread rapidly throughout Europe after arriving in Southern France in a consignment of pottery from China in 2004; it is estimated that they expanded through France at a rate of 60-80kms per year. The first known sighting of an Asian Hornet in Guernsey was in March 2017.

Early in 2018 Asian Hornet nests were found throughout the Island with some nests being found 15 metres up a tree, in a shed, in a hedgehog house and deep in brambles; so Asian Hornets seem to be very opportunistic in their choice of location for nest building.

In 2019,10 queens were trapped early in the year in a Spring Queening Programme and two mature nests were found and destroyed later in the year; these results were promising.

By 18th May, 2020 one queen Asian Hornet had been captured – on the window of a property off Damouettes Lane, St Peter Port; a further two queens were observed but were not  captured but no active nests were located. With this capture and the two sightings, it was clear that Asian Hornets were active and everyone was asked to keep a careful watch for these unwanted predators, whether in the garden or, during your permitted exercise outdoors. Four queens had been captured in traps in Sark.

The Spring Queening Programme is again being repeated in 2021 and 270 special traps have been set-up around the Island at 500 metre intervals. These traps are designed to capture Asian Hornet queens emerging from hibernation or, even arriving on the island from elsewhere, before they have an opportunity to establish a permanent nesting site, stop flying and begin breeding. These traps will remain out until the end of May, by which time the queens were no longer flying.  The 2020 Annual Report is attached at the bottom of these pages, together with an update about this year’s Programme.

A large mature nest can hold in excess of 5,000 hornets, so as well as being a severe threat to our native insect populations, they also represent a significant risk to public health and safety, especially if nests are inadvertently disturbed or, smashed (take care when cutting hedges and clearing undergrowth et cetra).

In late Summer and into the Autumn, reproducing females and males emerge from their nests to mate, and then abandon the workers (sterile females) in the nests to die off as the weather gets colder and the food supply dwindles. The old nests aren’t normally reused by the hornets. The mated queens then fly off in search of suitable, dry “accommodation” such as log-piles, outbuildings, roof spaces and hollow trees, where they can safely over-winter. The following spring, the cycle begins all over again. Therefore, even during the Winter months everyone should continue to be vigilant, keeping a careful watch-out for any dormant queens, so that they can be destroyed to break the cycle.

Honeybee colonies and all our indigenous insect life are already under very considerable pressure due to pesticides, parasites and diseases; the last thing they need now is predation from the aggressive Asian Hornet “killing machine”.  Honeybees account for over 30% of the diet of Asian Hornets, which have frequently been observed hovering at the entrances to bee-hives, picking off flying honeybees entering and leaving their hive. Although the efficiency of the Asian Hornet is to be admired, it is nevertheless a major threat to our biodiversity, insect life and bee-keeping activities; we cannot afford to lose any of our essential crop pollinators or insect life.  

If you do happen to see any Asian Hornets or their nests at any time of the year, it is essential that you contact the Asian Hornet Team on tel: 07839197082, or by email: – attaching a photo if possible.

2021 Trapping Update 6th June, 2021

Up until the recent Bank holiday weekend, things had been fairly unremarkable. The first Asian hornet of the year was positively identified in a trap at Pullas pond, Vale on April 21st, and then it all went very quiet.

However, the arrival of the warmer weather (and N-NE winds) over this last weekend has resulted in a busy period for the Asian hornet team. Since Bank Holiday Monday there have been three more hornets captured in four days as a result of our “Spring queening” trapping programme.

This brings the total of confirmed hornet sightings in 2021 to five, from which four have been successfully trapped by some of the 265 volunteers who have been monitoring one of the modified hornet traps that were distributed across the whole of Guernsey back in March.

Location of trapped queens

On Monday, the 2nd queen hornet was trapped in a garden on La Mazotte, Vale (photograph attached) and two days later on June 2nd, another, queen (3rd) was captured in a cottage garden on Route Des Coutanchez, St Peter Port. On the same afternoon a hornet was photographed by an observant walker where it was spotted resting on the tarmac road (photograph attached) at Le Friquet, Vale before it flew over a hedge in a westerly direction. A recent call has been received from a trap volunteer on La Maison Au Compte, Vale just 300m from this earlier sighting, to report that his trap had picked up a queen hornet (4th) – it is suspected this may well be the same one seen flying over the hedge yesterday although that queen hornet could still be at large.

A media release will be issued shortly advising residents in the Vale to keep a good look out for more hornets and check their sheds or outbuildings. Based on previous years hornet movements, the indications suggest that these hornets are all newly arrived from France but there could well be earlier arrivals that have remained undetected in which case they may already have started building nests and raising worker hornets.

Taking down traps

Taking account of the cold temperatures which have delayed spring by around 2 weeks, it was decided to extend the “spring queening” trapping until Friday, June 11th .


Please be careful NOT to mistake (or injure) the harmless, but very interesting Hornet Hoverfly with the Asian Hornet. See bottom of page***** for
photo of Hoverfly Hornet Volucellazonaria.


What do Asian hornets look like?

Asian hornets have a distinctive velvety black/dark brown thorax. The abdomen is also black/brown with the abdominal segments bordered with a fine yellow band, only the fourth abdominal segment is almost entirely a yellow-orange. The legs are black/brown with yellow ends and the head is black with an orange-yellow face. A typical worker hornet is approximately 22mm (1 inch) in length.



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

There is further information about the biology and life cycle of the Asian hornet on the National Bee Unit website:

Are Asian hornets dangerous?

As with bees and wasps, the Asian hornet has a painful sting. The sting of an Asian hornet is no more harmful than that of a bee or wasp although if a person is allergic to bee or wasp stings they are also likely to react to the sting of an Asian hornet. However Asian hornets may act more aggressively than most other indigenous bee and wasp species if their nest is threatened so it is important not to provoke them deliberately. When foraging for food away from the nest the Asian hornet is no more aggressive than a normal wasp.



What do I do if I think I’ve seen an Asian Hornet?

Anyone who thinks they have seen an Asian hornet is asked to photograph the insect if possible, note the location and watch it long enough to determine the direction of travel as this may be helpful in locating a nest. ACLMS is mapping Asian hornet sightings to help in the search for nest sites, so providing an accurate location with your sighting is very helpful. Nests are most commonly found high up in trees, although may also be found attached to or in buildings. Please report the location of any insect or nest found to ACLMS (tel: 07839197082 , or email Sightings can also be submitted through the Asian Hornet Watch app, which can be downloaded for free from the both the Apple ( and Google ( app stores – search for ‘Asian Hornet Watch’. The app also shows how to identify the Asian hornet from other similar looking species and photos can be uploaded directly from a mobile device. Your sighting will be forwarded to ACLMS automatically.

It is not urgent that a nest is destroyed immediately, but it must remain undisturbed whilst plans are made by the States of Guernsey for the safest way for it to be destroyed by a nominated pest controller. Confirmed sightings will be vital to help us find nests and eradicate the Asian Hornet from Guernsey.

Please note this is not to be confused with the Mandarin or Giant Asian hornet (Vespa mandarinia) which is very much larger and is found in China. It has not been found in the UK or Europe.


Just to repeat – please also be careful NOT to mistake or, injure the harmless, but very interesting Hornet Hoverfly with the Asain Hornet. The attached photo Hoverfly Hornet Volucellazonaria is published with kind permission of (c) Chris Raper

As a matter of general interest, this large harmless hoverfly which mimics hornets, leads a very interesting and remarkable life. For further information, on this and masses more too, go to –






States of Guernsey Press Release 19thApril, 2021

Asian Hornet Strategy “Spring Queening”
phase commences for  third year running.

The Asian Hornet Team has recently launched its “Spring Queening” phase for its third year running in time to catch any remaining queen hornets emerging from hibernation, or those travelling on favourable winds to our islands from France.

The team works to deliver the aims of the Asian Hornet Strategy to ensure that we keep the population of Asian hornets as low as possible, a strategy which has so far enjoyed success. It is hoped that with Islander’s continued cooperation, we will have another year of successful management of this invasive threat to our native insect populations.

Each year the Channel Islands are subject to an invasion of Asian hornets from France that are looking to expand their territory and establish new populations. Queen hornets live in isolation for a few weeks in spring which makes them easier to capture because they have to forage for food. Trapping these queen hornets is the main priority to prevent them raising the next generation of worker hornets which would otherwise go on to build huge nests. Without a coordinated control programme, that Asian hornets would certainly become very quickly established. If this were to happen it would then be virtually impossible to eradicate them.

The Asian Hornet Strategy places emphasis on capturing queen hornets each spring (“Spring Queening”), as dealing with a hornet queen and her small nest is much more effective and simplistic than tackling the very large secondary nests that are invariably built high up in the treetops. If they are not treated and removed, these secondary nests expand rapidly during August-September and can hold up to 5,000 hornets. When undetected or left uncontrolled, Asian hornets may present an increased risk to the public as well as causing significant harm to our native insect populations as they are a voracious predator. The latest research from France estimates that a full-size hornet colony can consume as many as 11kg of helpful pollinating insects in one summer.

Throughout March, the Asian hornet Team have been contacting landowners and householders across the island asking them to take part in the “Spring Queening” programme. In total, 270 specially modified traps have been set up in gardens, hedges and fields as part of the comprehensive island-wide programme to trap queen Asian hornets which have recently emerged from hibernation. Each volunteer received a trapping kit with full instructions on how to set up the trap and what to do if they catch an Asian hornet. The same systematic method of trapping is being rolled out across Alderney, Herm and Sark to trap these invading non-native pests and prevent their establishment.

Francis Russell – Project Coordinator (Asian Hornet Strategy) says:

“The first confirmed sighting of an Asian hornet on Sark for 2021 is a timely reminder for Islanders to remain vigilant and report any potential sightings swiftly so that we can check these out.  Every year we have noticed that queen hornets have a habit of turning up in kitchens so it is important to not let these insects escape if you do suspect it could be a hornet. Most likely, it will be a harmless queen wasp, but it is always a possibility.

I would also ask people to check their outbuildings, sheds, verandas and porches to look for any of the early queen’s nests – pale brown and not much bigger than a golf ball. If you think you have discovered an Asian hornet, try to safely contain it so it cannot escape outside, take a photograph and email it to for confirmation, or call 07839 197082. For more information please visit