The species has spread rapidly in Europe, where it preys on honeybees and other insects.
It is known to cause significant damage to commercial beehives and so local beekeepers are particularly concerned by the prospect of this insect becoming established.
The hornet was first sighted in the UK in 2016, and although none have been found on the Isle of Wight so far, one of the locations it was found was in Dorset, meaning that the Isle of Wight is particularly at risk.
The Asian hornet is active mainly between April and November, with a peak in August and September, and is inactive over the winter. So now is the time to keep an eye out for these big insects.
Chris van Wyk, owner of Isle of Wight honey producers Bunbury Bees, said:
“Asian hornets are not just bad for honeybees, they can have a devastating effect on other local invertebrates.
“It’s also very difficult to correctly eradicate a nest when found as the queen tends to abandon the nest if she detects interference, so it’s critical to report it to the proper bodies so that they can have qualified people come and destroy it cleanly and thoroughly.”
But it’s important not to confuse the dark Asian hornet with the lighter-colour and slightly larger native hornet.
“Native hornets are beneficial insects that help gardeners with pest control and rarely bother humans or pets – they are much more placid than the common yellowjacket wasp. I actually enjoy seeing them.”
Think you’ve spotted an Asian Hornet?
Check to see if it has:
• Brown legs with yellow ends
• Dark abdomen, 4th segment orange/yellow
• Approx. 25mm (one inch) long
Take a photo and report your sighting using the Asian Hornet Watch app or online at http://www.nonnativespecies.org//alerts/index.cfm?id=4.