The Asian wasp, a sprawling invasive species in Europe, threatens the survival of honey bees

The Asian wasp, a sprawling invasive species in Europe, threatens the survival of honey bees

We are facing an invasive species that must be taken into account, since the Asian wasp ( Vespa velutina ) is a voracious predator of bees, whose meat is used to feed the larvae, which is a problem for Europe.

To prevent the establishment or reduce the rate of spread of V. velutina, early detection and destruction of nests is considered the only option . Detection is difficult because their nests are well hidden and flying hornets are difficult to follow over long distances .

Vespa velutina and honey

The queen of this species can be about 3.5 centimeters long and the worker is usually about 2.5 centimeters . Its appearance is: yellow color of the end of its legs and the black of its abdomen, which contrasts with the yellow color of the fourth segment.

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The ‘Vespa velutina’ is an invasive species from Asia, specifically from northern India and China . Since its arrival on the Peninsula in 2010, the Asian wasp has been settling in the northern regions of the country, especially affecting honey production in Galicia.

It is also a problem for Europe in general (it came from France through Irún). And it is not just a problem for honey: pollination is a fundamental process for the survival of our ecosystems, and bees contribute significantly to it.

The problem is that, in Europe, this species of wasp has few predators. Only a few species of birds are a real threat to them that generally devour native bees as well as the magpie or chickens .

Asian bees, which have long been with Asian wasps , do not suffer as much predation as European ones. This is because some Asian bees have learned to defend themselves using a technique that consists of creating a swarm around the wasp to cause an increase in body temperature.

In this way they manage to kill them, because the bees are capable of holding more than 45 degrees, but the wasps do not tolerate that temperature. Interestingly, European bees are beginning to develop the same defense strategy as their Asian counterparts .