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Chasing the queens of the alien predator of honeybees: A water drop in the invasiveness ocean

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DOI: 10.4236/oje.2012.24022    5,901 Downloads   11,059 Views   Citations

ABSTRACT

The Yellow-legged hornet, Vespa velutina , was accidentally introduced in France in 2004, and then spread rapidly through the French territory but also to adjacent European countries (Spain, Portugal, and Belgium). During summer and autumn, V. velutina workers hunt domestic honeybees, Apis mellifera, for feeding their larvae. The impact of this alien species is mainly economic, beekeepers experiencing heavy colony losses, but also ecological, V. velutina hunting other pollinators. In their year-round life cycle, nest initiation by single queen during spring is the critical stage. In invaded areas, spring queen trapping using food baits has been promoted by apicultural unions in order to limit V. velutina population expansion. The goals of this work were 1) to evaluate the yield of this method, 2) to identify appropriate sites for trapping, 3) to identify potential optimal climatic windows of capture, and 4) to quantify the impact on local entomofauna. Our results showed that water proximity enhances trapping but not beehives proximity, and that trapping is inefficient if average week temperatures are below 10°C. Although the trapping effect on biodiversity should be studied more carefully, spring queen trapping is highly questionable unless specific attractants could be proposed.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Cite this paper

Monceau, K. , Bonnard, O. and Thiéry, D. (2012) Chasing the queens of the alien predator of honeybees: A water drop in the invasiveness ocean. Open Journal of Ecology, 2, 183-191. doi: 10.4236/oje.2012.24022.

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