How to obtain a sample

Instructions for Beekeepers in Obtaining a Sample of an
Asian Hornet for Identification Purposes

If you think that you have sighted an Asian Hornet you are required to report your observations.  This can now be done in several ways:

Via an online form found at

Via email to

The NBU will require evidence before any official action is taken.  All received reports are triaged in order to assess the credibility of each report.  The full eradication procedure is not put in place until a sample has been received and identified as an Asian Hornet

Contacting your Local Beekeeping Association may give you access to a group of volunteers that will help you in getting the evidence that is needed

If the Asian Hornets are visiting an apiary it is very much easier to collect a sample than to get photographic evidence.  If the Hornets are predating over a wide area, photographic evidence, possible video, will be the only option apart from setting hornet traps over a wide area

The Asian Hornets will often approach the hive from behind and remain underneath, emerging with a bee that had missed the landing board or ready to take a returning bee as they approach the hive entrance.  It is this moment, when the Hornet is hovering, that is the easiest time to collect a specimen.  This can be done using a child’s shrimp net and putting the insect in a jar or small bottle or by striking the insect to the ground with a racket of some kind before placing it in a jar

The speed of flight of the Hornet is impressive and often the insect seems to disappear. Several pairs of eyes are helpful in tracking their movements.  Placing skirts around the base of the hive is helpful in keeping the Hornets more visible.  This is now routinely done in France

Once the Hornet has collected a bee it flies a short distance (2 to 5 metres) to a bush, bracken or branch.  Whilst hanging upside down by its long back legs it butchers the bee by first removing its abdomen and then its head.  This process takes a little under a minute.  If there are no physical barriers to the contrary the Hornet will now fly directly back to its nest.  A compass bearing of such a flight will give a good indication of the nest’s direction.  Two or more of these flight lines from different positions will allow a triangulated position of the nest to be obtained

Remember that this is not just your problem – it is everyone’s problem

Guidance for Beekeepers

Guidance for Branches

Link to Asian Hornet Week




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