Asian hornet Vespa velutina


The Asian hornet, a hymenopteran slightly smaller than the native European hornet, is native to Southeast Asia. The subspecies nigrithorax, which has spread to Europe, is probably native to China, where the climatic conditions correspond to those in southern Europe. It is believed to have arrived in France in boxes of pottery from China. The species has become established in France and spread from there to the Mediterranean countries and northwards up to Germany. Locally, it spreads by flying, but covers longer distances with human assistance. Asian hornets have not been found in Finland.

European bees have not adapted to being hunted by Asian hornets. They fly slowly close to their hives, which makes them an easy target to prey on. In addition to honey bees, Asian hornets feed on other insects, fruit and berries.  Especially in the autumn, Asian hornets tend to feed on fruit, because sugar is a key source of energy.

They may pose a danger to humans when defending their nests. The nests are used only once and only the queen hibernates over the winter.

Source: FinBIF species descriptions
Description text authors:

Antti Pouttu (Luke) – updated 2.3.2016.

CC BY 4.0

The map represents observations of this taxon, but it may not be used as a distribution map.

  • Total squares
FinBIF master checklist
Scientific name
Vespa velutina
Lepeletier, 1836
Vernacular names
  • aasianherhiläinen (Finnish)
  • sammetsgeting (Swedish)
  • Asian hornet (English)
Taxon rank
This species is invasive
EstablishmentDoes not occur in Finland
Regulatory Status
  • Invasive alien species of Union concern (EU 2016/1141; 2017/1263; 2019/1262; 2022/1203) ?
  • Juho Paukkunen
Informal groups
  • Insects and arachnids
  • Sawflies, wasps, ants and bees