Reading and District Beekeepers' Association
Providing support to beekeepers in and around Reading


The Asian hornet is an invasive non-native hornet originally from Asia. It is a highly aggressive predator of native insects and poses a significant threat to the honeybee as well as other pollinating insects. In 2004 it was accidentally introduced to France where it has spread rapidly and into Belgium, Italy and is now ‘hitch-hiking’ across the channel to the UK with 78 nests destroyed in the UK (particularly around the ferry terminals of Kent). There have been nests destroyed as close to Reading as Slough.

The Asian hornet has distinctive markings; yellow legs and an orange band on the fourth segment on its black body. European hornets are brown and have yellow abdomens and brown legs, they are larger than an Asian hornet.

Mated queens hibernate on their own over winter. In Springtime the queen finds a suitable site to build herself a nest often under cover of porches, soffits. This is known as a Primary nest and is about the size of a tennis ball. Here the queen lays a number of workers here. Later in the year the workers will create a larger (Secondary) nest, and the queen moves to her new home. This nest is often higher and also not too far away from the primary nest. Secondary nests are usually well hidden even though they’re the size of a football or larger and are built from July-Autumn. Asian hornets are very protective of their nests and can be aggressive so beware.

Please become familiar with the difference between European hornets, Asian hornets and wood wasps as they often get mixed up. If you think you have seen one, try and take a photograph and report it on the Asian hornet APP free from the App store for Apple and Android platforms. The app provides an identification guide to help check with species you have seen and an opportunity to take a picture and record and report your sightings.

For further information please look at the British Beekeeping Association website:

The Channel Islands have had a huge surge in sightings and nests.
Jersey, Channel Islands nests found July 2021

Jersey, Channel Islands. Nests found September 2023