Asian hornet


The Asian hornet, Vespa velutina(variety nigrithorax), was introduced into France from Southeast Asia in 2004. Since then, it has been spreading unstoppably in Europe.


As of March 2015, it is known to occur in large parts of France, Portugal, Spain, Italy and Germany (near Karlsruhe). In 2016, it reached the Channel Islands and Great Britain. In 2017, a reproductive queen was sighted in Switzerland (Canton Jura). A distribution is thought possible for the whole of Europe to southern Scandinavia. It is probably only a matter of time when it will reach Austria.

Situation in Austria

Currently, the Asian hornet does not occur in Austria.

Specialized information

Vespa velutina is of particular interest to beekeepers because it prefers to hunt social hymenopterans (bees, wasps, flies), spiders and grasshoppers to feed its brood. There are differing opinions on how much damage it can cause to bee colonies. Vespa velutina is diurnal and hunts its prey in flight. In front of the hives it lies in wait for the returning bees in hovering flight. One indication is that in late autumn, when the strength of other insect populations decreases, about 75 bees per day are captured.

Characteristic are the nests (diameter from 40 to 60 cm with lateral exit in high trees. The hornet colony consists of an average of 6,000 individuals, with only the queens hibernating.

The Asian hornet is as harmless to healthy people as the native hornet, Vespa cabro (allergic reactions are possible). Both species behave peacefully and usually attack humans only when threatened. Particularly disturbing is the noisy flight.



DI Hemma Köglberger

Last updated: 16.08.2022

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