After the invasion of the Asian hornet in 2004, the recent appearance of the hornet Oriental in France raises questions. Where is he from ? Is it part of the species invasive ? What danger does he represent? Update on the current state of knowledge.
How was the oriental hornet discovered?
At the end of September 2021, oriental hornets (Vespa orientalis) have been identified at Marseilles by three researchers from the Ecotonia naturalist expertise firm. It was during a study on flora and fauna carried out in a industrial wasteland that the entomologists Alain Coache, Bruno Gereys and Gérard Filippi observed the animal. A presence unpublished in France. At the time of the discovery, around thirtyworkers of the oriental species prospected for wild rockets in the company of the European hornet (Vespa crabro) and the Asian hornet (Vespa velutina). Nine specimens were collected and nine others during a second survey.
What does the oriental hornet look like?
The oriental hornet is easily recognized by a pattern of coloring characteristic distinguishing it from other species. The insect sports a rusty color – almost reddish – which extends widely down the back to the face while the tip of its abdomen is tinted with a yellow lively. For comparison, lefrelon Asian is black with an orange ring and yellow partitions. As for the hornet European, he is black with red spots and his abdomen has black and yellow stripes. At the hornet Oriental, workers and males reach 2.5 cm long and queens are up to 3.5 cm long. The eastern species is fatter that her Asian counterpart and her appearance brings her closer to her European cousin.
Where does the oriental hornet live?
Originally from Balkans, the eastern hornet is naturally present in the south ofEurope, Northeastern Africa and the Middle East. Established in the south of Italy, the species has gradually returned to the north of the country where it was absent until then. Its progression would be due to global warming. Since males, queen and workers have been observed in Marseille, the existence of a colony is therefore confirmed in France.
Is the oriental hornet dangerous?
The oriental hornet has a more peaceful than the European species. He is not very aggressive towards the man whom he will sting only to defend. Unlike bees, the insect does not leave its sting in the skin and can therefore sting several times. The sensation remains very painful but does not present any risk except for people allergic or reactive to insect bites. On the other hand, the oriental hornet is a real scourge for the industry.beekeeping. Due to its very venom toxic, it is a much more formidable predator of bees than the Asian hornet and likely to cause considerable damage in apiaries. Beekeepers will therefore be the first victims if the oriental species were to spread to France.
Can the oriental hornet proliferate in France?
The eastern hornet has an expansion capacity very fast but for the time being, the extent of its dissemination in the Phocaean city has not been assessed. This species being adapted to ecosystems mediterranean and in the environment occupied by the human being (synanthropy), the hypothesis of its installation in Marseille should be taken into consideration. Accidentally introduced into Great Britain and Belgium by consignments of citrus fruits, the animal was ultimately not established in these two countries. Therefore, the experts do not advance on the to become of the oriental hornet in France.
How to prevent the spread of the Eastern Hornet?
By taking an important place in the food chain to the detriment of other species, the eastern hornet represents a threatens for biodiversity. As with all species invasive, specialists consider it necessary toto prevent its expansion and for this, to verify their presence in other neighborhoods of Marseille, as well as in the neighboring municipalities. Another priority is to find the nest (s). However, if the Asian and European hornets nest in kinds of large balloons hanging from trees and therefore easily identifiable, the oriental hornet is hiding underground or above, but in a cavity (rock crack, hole in a wall, etc.). The mission therefore turns out to be more complicated.
Asian or oriental: which species is the most invasive?
The hornet Asian was first reported in France in 2004, in the Lot-et-Garonne department. Studies have shown that it was introduced in Europe through containers of pottery from China. Like the oriental, the Asiatic species constitutes a terror for the beehives because it eliminates the honey bees and frightens the foragers who no longer dare to go out and become fragile by no longer feeding. The Asian hornet is currently considered the major cause of excess mortality bees in France. With regard to its impact on honey production, pollination and the ecosystem in general, the insect was classified health hazard by a ministerial decree in 2012. As such, it can be destroy. However, in view of the strong aggressiveness deployed by the Asian hornet in case of threat, its nest can only be safely eliminated by a professional equipped with suitable protection.