Monday, 9 October 2023, 15:49
The pest control company Rapiplaga has warned about the arrival of the Oriental hornet, Vespa orientalis, in Ronda. It is an invasive species which has been sighted in different parts of Spain for around a decade. Although not as dangerous as the Asian hornet it can wreak havoc on the biodiversity of the Iberian Peninsula and, in some cases, on people, as well as affecting fruit crops and beekeeping.
In Malaga province, specimens have been identified in Malaga city and in other coastal towns. In Marbella, a woman suffered anaphylactic shock after being stung by an Oriental hornet.
In July, according to Juan José Zamudio, of Rapiplaga, S.L., a local resident of Ronda contacted the pest control firm after she photographed a Vespa orientalis in a cat’s bowl near her home in Avenida Poeta Rilke, next to the Alameda del Tajo Park. "She photographed a very large wasp that seemed strange to her and asked us for help", Zamudio said.
Rapiplaga contacted different bodies such as Ronda Local Police and the Guardia Civil's nature protection branch Seprona, the councillor for the Environment and the Regional Agricultural Office (OCA) of Ronda. "None of them were aware of the presence of the Oriental hornet in Ronda," Zamudio added.
He therefore contacted the local council, which "unfortunately dealt with [the request he presented] as if it were a common pest warning, referring my case to the pest control service concessionaire, which did not show much interest either".
Zamudio also made reference to Montecorto, a town in the Serranía de Ronda where there have been several sightings of the Oriental hornet. The town hall has appealed to the residents to refrain from touching these insects and to try to identify the nest, alerting 112 and/or the town hall.
"It is an invasive species whose presence was known in Algeciras, the port where it is presumed that it arrived into Spain, but until now there was no evidence of its presence in the Serranía. This species poses a danger to people, pets and the beekeeping sector", said a written notificaton send to Ronda town hall and signed by Zamudio.
Ronda town hall said that "no more specimens have been located, nor have we received any further communications in this regard", so "we have not seen the need to inform the neighbours so as not to create alarm".
A single sting from the oriental hornet does not usually pose a health hazard, but they usually sting several times and defend themselves in groups, so it is necessary to take precautions in their presence. Their sting causes inflammation, itching, redness and pain. The sting should be removed with tweezers from the base. Then soap and water should be applied, medication should be taken in case of allergies and emergency services should be called in case of severe inflammation.
The Oriental hornet, at between 25 and 35 millimetres long, is longer that the Asian hornet which measures between 20mm and 40mm; the common wasp measures from 10mm to 20mm. It is native to the eastern Mediterranean and north Africa and is brown, reddish and yellow in colour. Nests are usually underground or in buildings or other enclosed structures, so they are often difficult to find.
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