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Vespa velutina in Turin

Monitoring and capture activities continue with the goal of eradicating and containing its expansion.

The "Asian hornet" Vespa velutina is one of the invasive alien species causing significant damage to beekeeping, viticulture, and agriculture, which is why there is increasing attention to its containment and potential eradication. Native to Southeast Asia, it was first identified in Europe in 2004 (France) and in Italy (Liguria) in 2012. Unfortunately, in the autumn of 2023, the first V. velutina nest was found on the Turin hill, near Cavoretto: the urgent alert among beekeepers was immediate.

A team of experts was formed, consisting of members of the BeeLab (DISAFA - UNITO) and local beekeeping associations (Aspromiele and CAPT), who set out to locate and eliminate the nest. With great success, the nest was found and destroyed, raising hopes for eradication. The analysis of the combs allowed the estimation of the possible presence of hundreds of V. velutina queens overwintering in the hills of Turin, dispersed before the nest was discovered. Consequently, immediate and intense monitoring and capture activities were initiated, in collaboration with local and regional associations and entities, to try to eradicate the species in the Turin area.

Based on scientific knowledge and territory analysis, a precise (and innovative) monitoring system was set up to capture potentially fertilized queens during autumn 2023, but dispersed in the territory alone, as per their biological cycle. The goal was to capture them before they build new nests in spring and summer, attempting to eradicate their presence or at least contain their expansion.

The first result is: the monitoring works. Unfortunately, as expected, the Asian hornet was found. The approximately 600 traps, placed within a maximum radius of 15 km centered on the original nest, have already found six Vespa velutina queens in the spring of 2024. These were located from a few hundred meters to a maximum of 2,300 meters from the original nest, once again confirming the great territorial expansion capacity of these insects, which show excellent winter survival potential.

The ongoing monitoring and communication activities, essential for trying to eradicate and contain this invasive species that worries various beekeeping and agricultural sectors, do not overlook the importance of protecting pollinators and wild entomofauna, especially in protected areas. The trap bottles have been adapted with holes of specific sizes to allow the maximum possible escape of non-target insects.

The extensive monitoring and human effort invested in the activity in the area reduce the potential for queen nesting, but there is still much to do and discover. Collaboration with local, regional, and national stakeholders has been essential, fundamental for setting up a potential common containment project if eradication proves impossible. In the meantime, the intervention team will do everything possible to protect pollinators, the environment, and all of us.

Siti utili:


Recognise Vespa velutina:

Alert the presence of Vespa velutina:




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