Four Asian hornets nests found in a week as invasive insect spreads

An Asian hornet in Belgium. Photo: Gilles Saint Martin via Wikimedia Commons
An Asian hornet in Belgium. Photo: Gilles Saint Martin via Wikimedia Commons

Four nests of Asian hornets have been found and removed in Zeeland province within the space of just one week. ‘This has never happened before in the Netherlands,’ insect researcher Daan Drukker told the AD.

The nests were found in Domburg, Yerseke and Sint Jansteen (two). ‘We have lost the battle,’ Peter Traas of vermin control company Traas Ongediertebestrijding told the paper. ‘Five years ago the first Asian hornet nest was found in the Netherlands and now we are removing four in one week.’

Last year 16 nests were destroyed nationwide. This year Traas has removed 15 in Zeeland and Brabant alone.

The warm autumn means that the hornets are still flying around and their nests, often in high trees, are being discovered as the leaves fall.

In August it emerged that researchers in Limburg monitoring the spread of Asian hornets had managed to track down a nest by attaching a tiny transmitter to one of the insects.

It is the first time a nest has been traced in the Netherlands using a transmitter, which weighs in at 150 milligrammes, or almost a third of the weight of the insect itself.

That experiment led researchers to a nest in Voerendaal, 18 metres up an ash tree and over half a kilometre from where the insect was caught.

The Asian hornet, (vespa velutina), which kills and eats honey bees and other insects, has been on the EU’s list of invasive species since August 2016. This means the authorities are obliged to track down and destroy their nests.

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