Asian Hornets have been spotted twice in the UK this year as a health expert warns that 2023 could be 'the worst year yet' for the insects. 

The predatory wasp has been sighted in both Kent and Northumberland this year which has raised concerns for the country's honey bee population. 

Following the news, the British Beekeepers Association has called on the public to report any potential sightings on its Asian Hornet watch app.

Here's everything you need to know about the insects and what to do if you're stung by one.

What is an Asian Hornet and what does it look like?

The yellow-legged hornet is non-native to the UK and is actually from South East Asia.

Also known as the Asian Predatory Wasp, the insect can consume 50 honey bees a day, with a swarm of insects capable of killing a hive of 30,000.

You are most likely to see it near bee hives and tends to be sighted in the south of England between February and November. 

The hornet has distinctive yellow legs, a velvet brown or black body and its abdomen is almost entirely dark except for a dark yellow segment, according to the Asian Hornet Action team.

What to do if you see an Asian Hornet

Following the sightings, health and wellness expert, Jay Riggs from Zeal CBD, has issued their expert advice on what to do if you are stung by one. 

Jay said: “If you’re stung from a regular hornet, their sting generally causes mild symptoms, but can be a lot more uncomfortable and more swollen than a bees’ sting.

"But getting stung by an Asian hornet will hurt a lot more, particularly as the toxicity is greater than most stinging insects.

"Its sting can be described as a feeling similar to being stabbed by a red-hot needle. Where the needle punctures the skin, it can swell severely and ache for a few days."

"Asian hornets are likely to sting when they feel threatened and a single Asian hornet can sting once or multiple times," Jay added.

"If you are near a nest, or unsure of the species, it’s best to avoid going anywhere near as sometimes hornets swarm, resulting in multiple stings all at once.

"To be sure, it’s always best to call an expert to remove a nest if you see one.”

What to do if you’re stung by an Asian hornet

If an Asian hornet stings you, it is important to immediately wash the area thoroughly with soap and cool water, the health expert advised.

You should apply ice to slow the venom spreading further.

The hornets don't leave a stinger so you will not need to worry about removing one.  

Border Counties Advertizer: Here's what you should do if you see or are stung by an Asian Hornet ( David Crossley/Defra)Here's what you should do if you see or are stung by an Asian Hornet ( David Crossley/Defra) (Image: David Crossley/Defra)

Jay went on to say: "If you have been stung multiple times or notice signs of an allergic reaction then it is important to seek medical attention.

"If you’re in any further pain take an antihistamine or apply hydrocortisone cream or calamine lotion to reduce the stinging and itching sensation".

When should you see a doctor after an Asian Hornet sting

If you have been stung and you start to have trouble breathing or find yourself wheezing or having shortness of breath, you might be having an allergic reaction.

Jay recommends finding a doctor if your throat starts to feel tight and you have difficulty swallowing.

If you have an allergy to wasp, bee, hornet or yellow jacket stings, you should always carry a bee sting kit and know how to use it.