According to ASEFOGA, the accidental arrival of the Asian hornet (Vespa velutina) has become a threat to the pollinating entomofauna, since the food base of the offspring of this species is found in the local insect fauna, making it an important source of food for the local insect fauna. strong predator that threatens pollinator biodiversity.
The pollinating action of insects is indispensable for global food production and a key ecosystem service. For this reason, conserving wild insect populations must be a priority, and to aid conservation it is necessary to know the threats that affect their development.
This is the reason why the entity points out that it is urgent to have a better characterization of the diet of the Vespa velutina to determine the extent to which their attacks affect the biodiversity of arthropods, in order to determine their behavioral patterns and be able to control this invasive species more effectively.
The main objective of the project was to quantify the effect of the presence of Vespa velutina on the pollinating entomofauna.
The specific objectives are:
The Pollinator Biodiversity project has contributed to the study of the effects of the Asian hornet, Vespa vetulina, on biodiversity.This species has been included in the “Catálogo Español de Especies Exóticas Invasoras”, in the “Estrategia de gestión, control y posible erradicación del avispón asiático o avispa negra (Vespa velutina ssp. nigrithorax) en España”, and in the “Protocolo de vixilancia e control fronte á vespa asiática (Vespa velutina)” approved by the Consellería de Medio Rural de la Xunta de Galicia. Vespa vetulina is considered a very aggressive invasive alien species. The climate and access to different resources have favored their expansion and installation in the northern and western fringe of the Iberian Peninsula.
The project has studied the invasive behavior of the speciesfor this purpose, the following were monitored eight nests in four areas of Galicia and the damage it can cause both to the ecosystem where it settles and to honey bee hives (Apis mellifera) near their nests. The areas studied were those close to: Concello de Cervo, North Coast area, Lugo (Galicia); Concello de Sanxenxo, West Coast area, Pontevedra (Galicia); Concellos de As Neves and A Cañiza, Southwest Interior area, Pontevedra (Galicia); and Concello de Lobeira, Southeast Interior area (ISE), Ourense (Galicia).
As a conclusion of the project, it can be highlighted that Vespa vetulina is capable of considerably disturbing the ecosystems in which it is found, as it competes for resources and food with other animal species and alters the behavior of pollinating insects as they are subjected to permanent stress due to the pressure exerted by the predator.
The impacts caused by the Asian hornet are, on the one hand, socioeconomic The impact on the beekeeping and fruit-growing sectors and, on the other hand, environmentalbecause they alter food chains, diminish entomological biodiversity, alter the behavior of pollinating species such as the honey bee (Apis mellifera), and compete for resources with native hornets, such as the European hornet (Vespa cabro), and for food with other species of birds, reptiles or amphibians. Likewise, the presence of nests of this invasive species in areas close to human populations can pose a serious public health problem.
The results of the project also include the organization’s outreach work in disseminating the problem of the invasive species, carrying out intense knowledge transfer work with the delivery of documentation and awareness-raising material to numerous public administrations responsible for biodiversity.