The forests of Aquitaine, in south-west France, now play host to swarms of the the Asian Hornet, Vespa velutina, which is believed to have arrived there "from the Far East in a consignment of Chinese pottery in late 2004


Haxaire said he's now counted 85 "football-shaped" nests across the 40 miles which separate the towns of Marmande and Podensac "in the Lot et Garonne department where the hornets were first spotted".

 Asian hornets will station themselves hovering at about 30cm from the
entrance to the honey bee colony where they pounce on returning
bees that are carrying pollen, fall to the ground with them,
cut off the head with their mandibles and transport them to a tree.  Here they
remove the wings and legs before making a little “meat ball” that they transport
back to their nest to feed their own larvae

found a colony, often a bee hive, they will sometimes arrive in
numbers to take an easy food source one after another. The consequences for the
bee colony can be catastrophic, if the flow of pollen into the
hive is severely disrupted. Over time it will result in the death of some or all
of the larvae and the queen will either stop or reduce
her egg production
. This will lead to the decline of the colony, ageing
bees will die with few or no replacements to take their place.  At best the
colony will be vulnerable to disease due to the dead larvae and the overall
weakness of the colony will lead to robbing. The colony will have little
of over-wintering.

Solutions :

Small nests with only a
queen at the beginning of the season, can be destroyed using a powerful
aerosol wasp spray
with caution.

Larger nests should be
destroyed as a matter of urgency
by a competent person that is equipped
for the job. Your local pompiers may perform this
service, if not they will be able to give you the contact details of someone
that will.

Purpose-made traps as illustrated can be
placed anywhere where the Asian hornets are thought to be present and
importantly near to bee hives. The dimensions are very


11. To improve the likelihood of early detection government will continue to raise public, beekeeper and other stakeholder awareness about this pest through a species alert ID/Identification sheet issued in 2011 by the NNSS which requested the public to report sightings to them via providing a photograph and details of location. The public are also invited to send a suspect sample to the NBU laboratory for examination. If the evidence supplied by the public or a beekeeper suggests that the pest is likely to be an Asian hornet, a NBU Bee Inspector will investigate the sighting. An ID sheet and Alert poster have also been prepared have been/will be distributed to all relevant stakeholders.

Materials you will need to make a trap

  • 1 x 2 Litre Plastic bottle
  • 1 x 100mm PVC joint (for 100mm PVC pipe)
  • 1 x 100mm PVC screw end cap for joint that will allow you to change the
    attractant without releasing any hornets
  • 1 piece of metal grill to put over the attractant.  This will prevent bees
    and insects falling in the liquid
  • 1 piece of wood 20cm x 20cm
  • Some steel wire, approx 60cm
  • PVC glue
  • Some silicone sealant

Translation of diagram /
document terms and wording :

Square wood roof 200 x 200mm –
Toit carré en bois de 200 x 200mm

Steel wire for fixing and
suspending the trap – Fil de fer de suspension et de fixation entonnoir /

The diameter of the aperture prevents the European hornet
from entering – La taille de l’orifice ne permet pas à Vespa crabro de
pénétrer dans le piège

Capture space – Chambre de

Wire mesh grill (to prevent insects falling in the
attractant) – Grille de protection

5.5mm exit holes for other
species to escape. eg honey bees – 5.5mm trou de sortie pour les autres

Attractant : Sugar water, beer, jam etc –

Key Contacts

National Bee Unit (NBU)

Food and Environment Research Agency

Sand Hutton

York YO41 1LZ



Tel: 01904 462510

Fax: 01904 462240

General email:




Bee Health Policy Programme

Food and Environment Research Agency

Sand Hutton

York YO41 1LZ



Tel: 01904 465636





Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra)

Contact details for Defra are available through


Contacts page

Defra Helpline: 08459 335577



Out of hours contact: Tel: 020 7270 8960



Non-native Species Policy Team (Defra)

2 The Square Temple Quay Bristol BS1 6PN