The Asian Hornet Invasion

(cc) Gilles San Martin

The Asian hornet (Vespa velutina) is an invasive species from China and North India, and it’s giving farmers and beekeepers a serious headache. Its presence was first detected in France at the end of 2004, and ever since it has relentlessly grown in number, spreading through the regions of Girona. Although it seems impossible to eliminate it
completely, it is worth knowing how to identify it and notifying the Agents Rurals if you find a nest, especially those that might pose a danger to people. Although not an especially aggressive species, the thousands of hornets from a
single nest will defend themselves to the death if they sense an attack, and their sting can be very painful.
These hornets build their nests in the treetops and are often not easy to see until the trees lose their leaves. Like other hornets, they feed on nectar, fruit and insects, but, unlike the native species, they also hunt bees to feed on their larvae, which is a major problem when it comes to crop pollination and for beekeepers, who are concerned their beehives are in danger. An Asian hornet can kill more than 50 bees in a day, hence it is also known as the hornet
assassin. There are certain traps that help to reduce hornet numbers or can be used to capture the queens. Moreover, the detection of provisional nests in the spring, often made in buildings, is of great help, as each primary nest that is
removed can prevent the creation of up to 50 future nests.

(cc)Didier Descouens-Wikipedia

It can be recognized by its thorax and abdomen which are black with the exception of a yellow fourth abdominal segment. The ends of its legs are also yellow.
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