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Asian Giant Hornet

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Asian giant hornet
Asian giant hornet - Photo by Allan Smith-Pardo; USDA, APHIS, PPQ
Scientific Name: 

Vespa mandarinia Smith, 1852 (Perrard et al. 2013)

Common Name: 

Asian giant hornet (AGH)

Native To: 

Asia (APHIS 2020)

Date of U.S. Introduction: 

Was first detected in Washington State in 2019 (APHIS 2020)

Means of Introduction: 

Unknown, but could possibly be introduced through the illegal importation of live specimens for food and medicinal purposes (APHIS 2020)

Impact: 

Pest of honey bees that can cause the complete loss of colonies (APHIS 2020)

Spotlights

USDA. Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is allocating more than $70 million to support 383 projects under the Plant Protection Act’s Section 7721 program to strengthen the nation’s infrastructure for pest detection and surveillance, identification, threat mitigation, to safeguard the nursery production system and to respond to plant pest emergencies. Universities, states, federal agencies, nongovernmental organizations, nonprofits, and Tribal organizations will carry out selected projects in 49 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, and Puerto Rico.

The fiscal year 2021 project list includes 29 projects funded through the National Clean Plant Network (NCPN). The NCPN helps our country maintain the infrastructure necessary to ensure that pathogen-free, disease-free and pest-free certified planting materials for fruit trees, grapes, berries, citrus, hops, sweet potatoes, and roses are available to U.S. specialty crop producers. In FY 2021, funded projects include, among others:

  • Asian giant hornet research and eradication efforts: $944,116 in Washington and other states;
  • Exotic fruit fly survey and detection: $5,575,000 in Florida and California;
  • Agriculture detector dog teams: $4,287,097 to programs in California, Florida, and nationally to support detector dog teams;
  • Honey bee and pollinator health: $1,337,819 to protect honey bees, bumble bees and other important pollinators from harmful pests;
  • Phytophthora ramorum (sudden oak death pathogen) and related species: $513,497 in 14 states and nationally for survey, diagnostics, mitigation, probability modeling, genetic analysis, and outreach;

USDA will use $14 million to rapidly respond to invasive pest emergencies should a pest of high economic consequence be found in the United States. Learn more about the Plant Protection Act, Section 7721 on the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) website: www.aphis.usda.gov/ppa-projects.

USDA. ARS. Tellus.

An Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientist in the Pacific Northwest has joined the hunt for the infamous Asian giant hornet (AGH) — a threat to honey bees in its native territory that could also endanger honey bees in the United States if it becomes established here. AGH is also a health concern for people with bee or wasp allergies. At roughly 2 inches in length, this invasive species from Southeast Asia is the world's largest hornet. It has distinctive markings: a large orange or yellow head and black-and-orange stripes across its body. While the hornet's sting delivers a potent venom that can cause severe reactions—and in some cases, death—in some people who are allergic to bee stings, attacks against humans are rare. AGH earned its bad reputation from the way it hunts down honey bees and other insects, primarily during the late summer months when it seeks protein to feed its young.

USDA. Blog.

After weeks of searching, Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) entomologists–—using a radio tag provided by USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service and a trap developed by the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service–— have located and eradicated the first Asian giant hornet (AGH) nest ever found in the United States. For months, WSDA had been trying to find the nest they knew must exist near Blaine, WA, because of AGH detections in the area. But finding the nest proved extremely challenging since the hornets build nests in forested areas, typically in an underground cavity.

Smithsonian Institution. Smithsonian Magazine.

The Asian giant hornet, seen for the first time in North America in 2019, is unlikely to murder you or U.S. bees, according to a Smithsonian entomologist.

Washington State Department of Agriculture.

After weeks of trapping and searching, Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) entomologists have located an Asian giant hornet nest on a property in Blaine – the first ever such nest found in the U.S.

Distribution / Maps / Survey Status

USDA. APHIS. Cooperative Agricultural Pest Survey. National Agricultural Pest Information System.

Images

University of Georgia. Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health.

Videos

Google. YouTube; CBS Sunday Morning.

Selected Resources

The section below contains highly relevant resources for this species, organized by source. Or, to display all related content view all resources for Asian Giant Hornet.

Council or Task Force

Oregon Invasive Species Council.

Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office. Washington Invasive Species Council.

Partnership

North Central Integrated Pest Management Center.

See also: Pest Alerts for more resources

Federal Government

USDAAPHIS. Plant Protection and Quarantine.

International Government

Government of British Columbia. Ministry of Agriculture.

Three Asian Hornets (Vespa mandarinia) were found in the Nanaimo area on Vancouver Island in mid-August. The identification has been confirmed by Canadian and international experts. This is the first time this insect has been found in British Columbia. Please report suspected Asian giant hornet sightings to the Invasive Species Council of British Columbia.

Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (Canada).

State and Local Government

Oregon Department of Agriculture.

See also: Pest Alerts for more pests

Washington State Department of Agriculture.

Ohio Department of Agriculture. Plant Health.

Georgia Department of Agriculture.

North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

See also: Hot Pest Topics for more resources

Academic

Clemson University Cooperative Extension. Home and Garden Information Center.

Alabama Cooperative Extension System.

University of Florida. Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Extension.

Electronic Data Information Source Publication #EENHY-754

Utah State University. Extension.

North Carolina State University. Extension.

Learn about some of the common species of wasps, bees and other non-wasp species, such as hover flies and robber flies, that superficially resemble the Asian giant hornet.

University of Michigan. Museum of Zoology.

Virginia Tech. Department of Entomology.

Pennsylvania State University. Cooperative Extension.

Professional

Invasive Species Centre (Ontario).

Citations