To date, there have been nine confirmed sightings of the Asian hornet in England and five nests have been destroyed, according to Defra.

Seven of these sightings occurred in 2018; these include an individual hornet in Lancashire in April and one in Hull in September.

Three more were seen in Cornwall and two in Hampshire over the past month.

The Asian hornet is a species of hornet which is not native to the UK. It is smaller than the native British hornet and poses no greater risk to human health than other hornets or bees.

However, they do pose a risk to honey bees and pollinating insects. Defra is keen to stop this insect establishing in the UK, and has urged people to report suspected sightings.

Nicola Spence, chief plant health officer, said: "By ensuring we are alerted to possible sightings as early as possible, we can take swift and effective action to stamp out the threat posed by Asian hornets.

"While the Asian hornet poses no greater risk to human health than a bee, we recognise the damage they can cause to honey bee colonies and other beneficial insects.

"Please continue to look out for any Asian hornets and if you think you’ve spotted one, report your sighting through the Asian hornet app or online," she said.

How to spot an Asian hornet.

Asian hornets:

  • Have a dark brown or black velvety body;
  • Have a yellow or orange band on fourth segment of abdomen;
  • Have yellow tipped legs;
  • Are smaller than the native European hornet;
  • Are not active at night.

If you suspect you have seen an Asian hornet you should report this using the iPhone and Android app ‘Asian Hornet Watch’.

You can also report sightings by email: [email protected]

Please include information on location, date and number of Asian hornets you have seen. Please also include a photo if you can to help our experts identify the insect.

If you find a nest, don’t try to remove it yourself – it can be dangerous and should only be done by experts, Defra warns.