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The velutina wasp, or 'Asian hornet'. Ideal
This is the dangerous invasive insect that has authorities in Spain on alert
Nature

This is the dangerous invasive insect that has authorities in Spain on alert

The velutina wasp, or 'Asian hornet', is native to China but has been detected in southwestern Europe since 2004

Daniela Londoño

Granada

Friday, 8 September 2023, 18:25

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Since the presence of this insect was recorded for the first time in Europe in 2004, many authorities have warned about its danger. Not only is it a species that endangers other insects that are essential for the balance of the ecosystem - such as bees - but it can also be a danger to humans, according to José Ignacio López and José Luis García , members of Ecologistas en Acción.

According to the experts, the Vespa velutina is a species of large and very aggressive wasp. Like others of its species, it usually attacks other insects such as butterflies, beetles, ants, among others. It is a species with a "high degree of aggressiveness that immediately attacks those who are unlucky enough to come across its nests."

The European population of the Vespa velutina waps, which are responsible for four or five deaths a year in Spain, has been growing since they were first recorded in France in 2004. Although it is native to southern China and northern India, it survives in temperate subtropical climates, and since 2004 has become acclimatised in southwestern Europe, spreading from France to the Iberian Peninsula and Balearic islands.

Their main source of food (45-80%) is bees. The insects will venture into beehives, with a single wasp capable of killing between 25 and 50 bees a day. The 'Asian hornet' can be identified by its black stomach and a yellow and black striped backside.

In Spain, it has already managed to establish itself the Basque Country, Navarre, Cantabria, Asturias, Galicia and Catalonia. But it is unlikely to spread to the rest of the mainland due to its climate, according to expert, Leopoldo Castro.

The wasps are a serious threat to people who come across their nests, especially beekeepers struggling to defend their bees. In provinces such as Galicia, deaths caused by this insect have been reported since 2015. The latest was recorded in Melón, where a 70-year-old man was stung by several wasps.

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