SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — Local bee enthusiasts may be surprised to hear that there is a new threat lurking in our backyards — yellow-legged hornets.

On Aug. 9, the Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) confirmed that a non-native hornet species, a yellow-legged hornet, was seen in Georgia for the first time after being spotted on a Savannah property by a local beekeeper.

According to officials, this is the first sighting of a live yellow-legged hornet in the open United States.

It’s important to report sightings of these insects as they can pose a serious threat to honey production, native pollinators and the agriculture industry as a whole.

One of the biggest issues with this insect is that it constructs large, egg-shaped paper nests in trees above the ground. These massive nests can house an average of 6,000 wasps.

Yellow-legged hornets are native to tropical and subtropical areas of Southeast Asia and have become established in most of Europe as well as parts of the Middle East.

Experts are suggesting that, if you spot one of these insects, to report it to the Georgia Department of Agriculture (GDA).

The GDA’s website is updated with additional information regarding the yellow-legged hornet. Georgians can fill out a form to report potential sightings.

Here is what to include with your report, if possible:  

  • Your name and contact information.
  • The location of the sighting.
  • Date of sighting.
  • If you can, safely take photograph(s) of the hornet (we generally can only confirm a report with a photo or specimen).
  • Location and approximate height of the nest if found (Is it in a tree? Approximately how high is the nest?).
  • If you have no photo, please include a description of the size of the insect, the color of the head and body, and what it was doing.
  • Description of the hive loss/damage (if no photo is available). 
  • The direction the hornet(s) flew when flying away.

This information is prominently displayed on the homepage of the department’s website.

The GDA also mentions that there are several native species of hornets and wasps that may resemble the yellow-legged hornet. To see photos of possible lookalikes, click or tap here and search “yellow-legged hornet.”

If you have more questions about the insect, you can contact the GDA at