Vespa velutina nigrithorax de Buysson, 1905

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English Asian hornet Status LU: absent. 1st record: n/a.
Lëtzebuergesch Asiatesch Runn Status EU: established. IAS of EU concern (2016).
Français Frelon à pattes jaunes RA: ISEIA: C0. Harmonia+: n/a.
Deutsch Asiatische Hornisse Wikipedia: Wikipedia - English - Asian hornet Wikipedia - Français - Frelon à pattes jaunes Wikipedia - Deutsch - Nederlands | Wikispecies:  Wikispecies - Vespa velutina
Nederlands Aziatische hoornaar Back to the list of invertebrates

Report the species

Report Vespa velutina nigrithorax to the National Museum of Natural History.

Brief description

Asian hornet (Vespa velutina)Vespa velutina nigrithorax de Buysson, 1905 (Hymenoptera: Vespidae) is a hornet of Asian origin which is a generalist predator of medium- to large-sized insects, and scavenger of vertebrate carrion. It has large impacts on Diptera and social hymenopterans, and in particular on honey bees (Apis spp.). It has recently been spreading in Asia (it is an invasive species in South Korea and Japan), and the subspecies V. v. nigrithorax has been accidentally introduced to Europe where it was first recorded from southern France in 2005. Since then it has been found in Spain, Portugal, Belgium, Italy, the UK, the Netherlands, Germany, the Channel Islands and the Balearic Islands. This invasive species threatens honey production and native pollinating insects. It may be introduced and transported accidentally with soil associated with plants, garden furniture and pots, timber, vegetables, camping equipment, etc. (CABI 2019).

An invader in Europe, Vespa velutina nigrithorax de Buysson, 1905 has appeared in France (2004), Spain, Portugal, Belgium (2011, 2016) (Barbier & Renneson 2018) 1) and The Netherlands (Smit et al. 2017). Further invasions are expected in various countries covering much of Europe.

IAS of Union concern

In 2016, Vespa velutina nigrithorax de Buysson, 1905 was added to the list of invasive alien species of Union concern (Anonymous 2016) which implies that member states shall take all necessary steps to prevent it’s unintentional introduction or spread.

Status and distribution in Luxembourg

So far, there have been no observations of the Asian hornet in Luxembourg (MNHNL, iNaturalist & GBIF 2020). The European hornet (Vespa crabro) and several social wasps (Vespula spp.) are well established in Luxembourg and they occupy potential niches suitable for the Asian hornet. Nico Schneider (2018) wonders if this might be part of the explanation why the Asian hornet hasn’t yet established itself in Luxembourg.

Risk assessment

ISEIA protocol

C0 (3+1+1+1) (Ries et al. 2017: 69).

Harmonia+ protocol

Not assessed yet.

Worldwide distribution

Fact sheet and leaflet

PDF fact sheet of the Nature and Forestry Administration: FR

Vespa-velutina-flyer-1st-pageIn spring 2016 the Department for the Environment of the Luxembourg Ministry of sustainable development and infrastructures published a leaflet in German about Vespa velutina, in co-operation with the Nature and Forestry Administration, the National Museum of Natural History, natur&ëmwelt and the National Bee-keeping Association.

Download the leaflet in PDF format (3.2 MB)

Since the publication of the leaflet, the Asian hornet has been reported several times to the authorities. All of these observations were confusion with native hornet species though.

In the press

Lëtzebuerger Beienzeitung 2016/12: 394.



  • Anonymous, 2016. Commission implementing regulation (EU) 2016/1141 of 13 July 2016 adopting a list of invasive alien species of Union concern pursuant to Regulation (EU) No 1143/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council. Official Journal of the European Union L 189: 4-5.
  • Barbier Y & JL Renneson (2018) Vespa velutina Lepeletier, 1836. Atlas Hymenoptera. URL: [2018.01.03]
  • CABI, 2019. Vespa velutina [text by Sarah Bunker, UK; CRCNPB Australia]. In: Invasive Species Compendium. Wallingford, UK: CAB International. URL: [accessed 2020-01-31]
  • MNHNL, iNaturalist & GBIF, 2020. Vespa velutina nigrithorax de Buysson, 1905 in MNHNL-mdata, online portal combining species observation from Recorder-Lux, iNaturalist and GBIF. National Museum of Natural History, Luxembourg. URL: [Accessed 2020-04-21]
  • Ries, C., A. Arendt, C. Braunert, S. Christian, A. Dohet, A. Frantz, G. Geimer, M. Hellers, J. A. Massard, X. Mestdagh, R. Proess, N. Schneider & M. Pfeiffenschneider, 2017. Environmental impact assessment and black, watch and alert list classification after the ISEIA Protocol of invertebrates in Luxembourg. Bull. Soc. Nat. luxemb. 119: 63-70. [PDF 360 KB]
  • Schneider N (2018) Personal communication by e-mail to C. Ries on 3rd January 2018.
  • Smit J, R van de Roer, R Fontein & A de Wilde (2017) Eerste vondst van de aziatische hoornaar Vespa velutina nigrithorax in Nederland (Hymenoptera: Vespidae). Nederlandse Faunistische Mededelingen 49: 1-10.

 Page content last updated on 2020-04-28. Last proofread by Caroline Grounds on 2019-12-12.