What are Asian Hornets, what do they look like and how dangerous are they?

Asian hornets are not common in the UK. Larger than the European hornets we might come across, these distinctive insects were spotted in the country earlier this year.

In April 2022, a single Asian hornet was captured in Felixstowe, Suffolk.

Now, another sighting in Essex has urged The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to caution beekeepers and members of the public. with more monitoring currently underway to see if there are more Asian hornets in the area.

Here’s what you need to know about Asian Hornets, how to spot them, if they are dangerous and what to do if you get stung.

What are Asian hornets and what do they look like?
Asian hornets look distinct, with a characteristic yellow head and almost entirely dark abdomen except for a small yellow section. Their legs have bright yellow tips as well.

With longer stingers than a honeybee, Asian hornets are much larger than normal hornets, and their stingers are capable of puncturing thick clothing as well.

According to Jay Riggs, Health and Wellness Expert from Zeal CBD, while normal hornet stings typically cause only mild symptoms, getting stung by Asian hornets will hurt a lot more as they are more toxic than most stinging insects.

He explains: “It could be described as a feeling similar to being stabbed by a red-hot needle. The stung part will swell severely and ache for a few days. It is a lot more intense than being stung by a normal hornet.”

Are Asian hornets dangerous?
Asian Hornets can become aggressive if disturbed. These insects are likely to sting when they feel threatened and a single Asian hornet can sting once or multiple times.

Jay Riggs, Health and Wellness Expert from Zeal CBD, warns: “If you are near a nest, please be careful as sometimes hornets swarm and can cause hundreds of unpleasant stings. Call an expert to remove a nest if you see one.”

What do to if you come across an Asian hornet?
If you spot an Asian hornet nest, first things first is to stay away from it. These insects don’t sting without being provoked.

However, if end up getting near one, don’t run away. The hornets can fly faster than you can run and also consider running a provocation.

Instead, crouch low to the ground, stop moving and try to cover your head.

After this, alert an expert who can remove the nest.

What to do if you’re stung by an Asian hornet?
Jay Riggs, Health and Wellness Expert from Zeal CBD advises we do the following if we’ve been stung by an Asian hornet.

It’s important that you immediately wash the area with soap and cool water. You should also apply ice to slow the spread of the venom
If you’re been stung multiple times or notice signs of allergic reactions then seek medical attention, especially if you have trouble breathing, wheezing or shortness of breath or difficulty swallowing
If you’re in any further pain take an antihistamine or apply creams to reduce itching if necessary