Asian Bee-Eating Hornets Spreading Rapidly in France


photo: Wikipedia France

As if we didn't have enough to worry about with declines in bee populations... Reuters reports that colonies of bee-eating Asian hornets (Vespa veluntina) are spreading rapidly in southwestern France:Will Persistently Chase People in Defense of Nest
The hornets don't pose any greater threat that regular hornets to humans in terms of their sting, however the size of their colonies (up to one meter tall) can mean increased risk of attack. Furthermore, they will defend their nest vigorously, chasing intruders for long distances.

Four Hornets Can Wipe Out One Beehive in 48 Hours
The greater threat is to beehives, already stressed because of colony collapse disorder, as only 3 or 4 of the Asian hornets can wipe out an entire colony of bees in under 48 hours.

Over 1,000 Nests Now Known to Exist
The first of the 3cm-long hornets are suspected to arrived in a shipment of ceramics back in 2004, but new research shows that there are more than 1,100 nests from Bordeaux to as far north as Brittany. Though not yet in any other European country, the hornets are expected to spread.

More: Reuters
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Tags: Agriculture | Bees | France | Honey