Yellow‐legged hornet

Vespa velutina nigrithorax


The Asian Hornet is smaller than our native European Hornet (Vespa crabro). The European Hornet has a reddish to black colored head while the Asian Hornet has a black head with an orange forehead. Vespa velutina nigrithorax has a an entirely dark black thorax (European hornet more orange) and characteristic yellow legs (European hornet darker legs). A key feature is the almost entirely dark abdomen, except for the 4th segment which is orange-yellow. Asian Hornets are never active at night whereas European Hornets may be.

Did you know?

The Yellow-legged hornet was introduced in the south of France in 2004 and has been colonizing Europe ever since. It now occupies a large part of Western Europe and is present in Portugal, Spain, Italy, France, Germany, Belgium and the United Kingdom. Originally, from South-East Asia, this hornet generally nests in very large nests on tall trees at a height of more than 10 meters in summer. They can usually be found in green spaces and near forests. The Yellow-legged hornet is about 3cm long and is distinguished from the European hornet by its darker color and bicolored legs. The Yellow-legged hornet is very voracious and consumes, among other things, honeybees. In high density, it can decimate hives. Concerning human health, its bite is no more serious than that of the European hornet or the honeybee. However, it is advisable not to approach the nest of Vespa velutina within 5 meters.

Yellow‐legged hornet
Stéphanie Hudin, FCEN