Status: 02.10.2023, 04:46 a.m.
By: Maximilian Hertel
The invasive species of the Asian hornet is classified as a potential threat to the native fauna. Beekeepers are sounding the alarm.
Munich – The Asian hornet is causing increasing concern. In the "insect summer" of 2023, a particularly large number of native hornets have already been spotted. Now a new species from Asia seems to be settling in Germany. Experts warned about the invasive hornet back in August. Now the German Beekeepers' Association is also sounding the alarm.
Asian hornet continues to spread in Germany – NRW particularly hard hit
A spokeswoman for the State Office for Nature, Environment and Consumer Protection (LANUV) confirmed that the Asian hornet continues to spread. Since the end of April until the beginning of this week (September 25), 95 sightings have been confirmed in North Rhine-Westphalia. These are both individual animals and entire nests. The Asian hornet is distinguished, among other things, by its black head with an orange forehead.
The first sightings in NRW were already in 2020 on the border with the Netherlands, in the Heinsberg district. The first nests, on the other hand, did not appear until 2022. Originally, the Asian hornet, the Vespa Velutina, comes from Southeast Asia and appeared for the first time about 20 years ago in the south of France.
The Asian hornet – also called Vespa Velutina. © IMAGO/Geoffrey Swaine / Avalon
Asian hornet harmless to non-allergy sufferers
According to the LANUV, the stitches of the Vespa Velutina are harmless to non-allergy sufferers. Although it is slightly smaller and darker than its European counterparts, caution is still advised. The hornets defend themselves and their brood in the vicinity of the nest with stings.
So it's best to keep your distance. Especially in the case of vibrations, the species reacts aggressively to intruders, the LANUV experts explained. A sting is comparable to a wasp or bee sting.
Invasive hunter as a threat to native bees – beekeepers sound the alarm
Although the Asian hornet is considered to be largely harmless to humans, the EU classifies it as a priority alien species. There is a risk that the invasive hunter could endanger the populations of native wild bees or other insects.
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Fancy a voyage of discovery?
Measures to control the population of invaders are relatively costly. For this reason, the German Beekeepers' Association has asked for support. A spokesperson said the spread of the Asian hornet was no surprise and was due to climate change. In the affected region, work is already underway to locate and remove the nests. (MH with dpa)