How to Prevent a Hornet Attack to a Honey Bee Hive

Asian giant hornet (giant sparrow hornet, Vespa mandarinia) and Asian hornet (Vespa velutina nigrithorax) attacks will kill off entire honeybee hives in a matter of hours. They are voracious predators who eat the honey and feed bees and bee larvae to their young. A single giant hornet can kill over 10,000 honeybees. They attack in groups of three to thirty, and once under attack, a hive is destroyed within two to forty-eight hours. The smaller variety of hornets attack in larger groups but can also completely eliminate bee hives.

The European honeybee is at risk of Asian hornet attack. Introduction of the European bee to Japanese apiaries has weakened these hives. Introduction of Asian hornets to Western Europe is destroying native bee hives. Native Japanese honeybees defend against hornets with communal attack. European honeybees are helpless.

The Asian Giant Hornet is hundreds of times larger than the honeybee. The Asian hornet is similar in size to European hornets. If you have positively identified either type of Asian hornet, immediately contact your local agricultural and forestry offices to report the sighting and for instructions.

There is not yet an effective method to stop an Asian giant hornet attack once it has begun short of opening the hive, individually removing, and killing the hornets. Their stings can be deadly and they must be approached with extreme caution.

Traps can prevent attacks by the smaller variety of Asian hornet. Place these traps where you have seen the hornets, and near your hives.

Cut a 7 x 7mm hole in the cap of the water bottle. Measurements are very important, as you do not want to trap native insects, only the introduced hornet.

Cut several 5 x 5mm holes at the midline of your PVC pipe to allow bees and other non-target insects to escape.

Cut the bottom off of the water bottle and discard.

Cut the top off of the water bottle. Place the top upside down into the body of the bottle, so that the cap is pointing inward. Glue in place.

Place your reworked bottle into the PVC pipe joint. Make sure that the 5 x 5mm escape holes are not blocked by the bottle. Glue in place.

Glue wire mesh in place within the pipe joint just below the 5 x 5mm escape holes.

Ensure that your plastic bait cup fits inside the joint cap, with room to screw into the PVC pipe. Cut to size as needed. You will need only a small amount of bait. Glue in place. Place your bait inside the cup. Screw bait section onto PVC pipe.

Mount to hang according to your needs.

Check your trap frequently. If you see any non-hornet insects trapped and unable to escape, you must take the trap apart, check your measurements, and rework as needed. Destroying native insects is counterproductive, and trapping your own honeybees obviously undermines this effort.


Check your hives and the area around the hives daily for signs of disturbance. Alert agricultural and forestry offices at the first sign of introduced hornets. These hornets have not yet made their way to the Americas but have been introduced to Western Europe. Use extreme care when importing any item that may carry these creatures, including building materials that may carry nests.


The Asian giant hornet injects far more venom than other stinging insects and is responsible for several dozen human deaths every year. Use extreme caution when approaching, and also when dealing with a hive under attack as the bees will be agitated and you will be stung.

Things You'll Need

  • 2 litre plastic bottle
  • PVC pipe joint to fit bottle
  • threaded joint cap to fit pipe joint
  • PVC glue (Plumber's Goop)
  • plastic cup
  • fine wire mesh
  • bait (honey, beer)
  • wood panel and heavy wire to mount and hang
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About the Author

Angela Libal began writing professionally in 2005. She has published several books, specializing in zoology and animal husbandry. Libal holds a degree in behavioral science: animal science from Moorpark College, a Bachelor of Arts from Sarah Lawrence College and is a graduate student in cryptozoology.