About the Vespa Velutina

  • The predatory wasp Vespa Velutina is an invasive species of Asian origin. It is also known as the "Asian Hornet" or "Yellow-legged Hornet". 
  • It first appeared in France in 2004, and grew rapidly to reach Belgium, Spain, Portugal. It first reached Italy in 2012, and is now considered as a serious problem. Initially, specimens were found in traps that served as monitoring purposes only. But in 2013, Vespas were discovered causing damage inside local Italian apiaries.
  • It is crucial to know the distribution and dissemination of this species on the Italian territory so that countermeasures can be established.

          FOOD SOURCE

  • Vespas cause serious damage to the beehives, the bees, and on pollinating insects in particular. They also threaten the fruit ripening process.
  • Hornets, in common with honey bees, have two basic dietary requirements: sugars – for energy for the adults, and proteins – for the nourishment of the brood. 
  • Thus, they prefer to camp near the apiaries. They attack, kill and eat some parts on site.  


          
THE NESTS

  • If you observe a depopulation of hives, it is possible that a Vespa nest is present within a radius of 300-500 yards. 
  • These spherical nests can exceed 20 inches in diameter. They are located mainly in trees and are difficult to detect because they are camouflaged. Due to their brown/ light brown color, they blend into trees and foliage, seemingly appearing as clumps of dirt.
  • Other than trees, Vespas prefer locations with good ventilation. They have been known to build nests in structures such as barns, sheds or even cracks in walls.  
  • Hornets nests near human residences should be a cause for great concern. Though Vespas are not generally aggressive, they are notoriously defensive and will protect their territory no matter what.  
  • Vespa stings can cause allergic reactions. In severe cases, stings can result to multiple organ failure leading to death. 

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