Asian hornet’s nest the size of a basketball found in a man’s garden in Essex

Left: Stock photo of the Asian hornet. Right: The Hornet's Nest

The nest was taken to a government lab for testing (Image: Jam Press/DEFRA)

A man was shocked after authorities found an Asian hornet’s nest the size of a basketball in the back of his yard.

David Holborn became aware of the “scary” discovery at his home in Essex after inspectors from the Animal and Plant Health Agency launched an investigation to locate hornets in the area.

The 50 cm nest was destroyed and taken to a government laboratory for testing.

Mr Holborn told the BBC he had no idea the nest was on his property, although it has likely been there since the summer.

He said: “It was the size of an oblong basketball.

“It’s quite scary to think of it’s been in our garden for probably two months but it hasn’t done us any harm.

“You kept to yourself.”

Inspectors also had to leave the nest overnight, forcing Mr Holborn to close all his windows as a precaution.

Asian Hornet Credit Defra

The Asian hornet (Vespa velutina) is a different species from the giant Asian hornet (Vespa mandarinia) found in North America (Image: Defra)

Scientists now need to find out where the nest originally came from and whether Asian hornet queens had already left and flown elsewhere before the nest was discovered.

Asian hornets are smaller than native hornets and pose no greater risk to human health than they do, according to Defra.

The RSPB says the animal poses a “significant threat” to UK wildlife, adding: “The Asian hornet is a non-native species to the UK as it originates from East Asia and could not arrive in the UK naturally.

“The concern for the Asian hornet is that it is a major predator of bees. In France, it has consumed large numbers of bees, including the well-known European honey bee and many lesser-known solitary and colonial bee species.’

The animals are mostly black except for their fourth abdominal segment, which is a yellow band located backwards.

It has yellow legs—hence it’s often referred to as the yellow-legged hornet—while its face is orange with two compound eyes that are brownish-red.

The public has been told that the animals are not generally aggressive towards humans, but can be if they perceive you as a threat to their nest.

The Asian hornet (Vespa velutina) is a different species from the giant Asian hornet (Vespa mandarinia) found in North America.

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Justin Scacco

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