Asian Hornet Identification
The following images can all be found on the NNSS Asian Hornet ID Sheet, which is available for you to download and print off and is linked to from every image.
The image below shows all the characteristics of the Asian Hornet (Vespa Velutina) that will help you to identify her if you see one that has settled. However, if you want just one simple way to uniquely identify an Asian hornet then remember this – yellow socks! No other native species of flying insect that could possibly be mistaken for an Asian hornet has yellow socks.
In flight, when the details are difficult to take in, the overall impression is of something almost black. If she settles, look for yellow socks.
Asian Hornet Misidentification
The image below shows a European Hornet (Vespa Crabro).
In flight, when the details are difficult to take in, the overall impression is of something orangy-brown. If she settles, you will see that she is yellow and brown, without yellow socks.
Three other species that are very commonly misidentified as Asian hornets are shown below. The authorities spend a great deal of time dealing with these species being misidentified as Asian hornets. Please learn to look for the differences.
The Giant Woodwasp is a fearsome-looking insect, with what looks like a huge sting. However, this is actually an ovipositor for laying eggs in wood. Note she has totally yellow legs.
The Hornet Mimic Hoverfly has a head that looks like a fly’s head. Also, she only has two wings. Asian hornets have four wings. Finally, her legs are dark.
Median Wasps have totally yellow legs. She looks like a common wasp, but with more black than yellow colouring.