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Dr Feás a member of The Velutina Task Force of COLOSS Association recently gave a talk at a conference at University degli Studi di Torino on Vespa velutina and other invasive invertebrates species during 21nd and 23rd of March 2019 And most recently a lecture for the British Beekeepers Association at Harper Adams University in Shropshire entitled "The Asian Hornet (Vespa velutina nigrithorax): an exotic predator in Europe. What does the future hold?” on Saturday 13th and Sunday 14th April. Where he discussed his work and recent research conducted by Wen, Ping et al. (“The sex pheromone of a globally invasive honey bee predator, the Asian eusocial hornet, Vespa velutina”. 2017. Scientific Reports, 12956, 7) showed evidence for Vespa velutina gyne-produced sex attractant pheromones that mediate attraction of males.
What is the Vespa velutina Sex Pheromone Lure?
It is a rubber dispenser containing the species-specific sex pheromone released by the virgin Vespa velutinagynes (reproductive females).
Sex Pheromone Lure
Insect pheromones are used as messengers that affect the insect behaviour. One of them are the Sex Pheromones, to attract adults of the opposite sex for mating. Insect pheromone is famous of its high efficiency, non-toxicity, no pollution, no harm insects and other advantages. Pheromones can be used to control different lives phases of pests in the following aspects:
Detecting the presence of the mating period, indicating the level of infestation and evaluating the most suitable treatment and application time.
Capturing the highest number of insects in a trap to reduce or eliminate damages caused.
Impeding the encounter between both sexes by creating an atmosphere. In normal mate location, the female releases pheromone and the males flies towards the source. In mating disruption, pheromone is released from dispensers that act as false sources, or pheromone is release at such a high rate that the male is disoriented or unable to detect the plume of the calling female.
The National Bee Unit has located and destroyed a second Asian hornet nest in Fowey, Cornwall.
Another Asian hornet nest has been found and destroyed in Fowey England, This is the second nest to be found in Fowey and was found close to the site of the 1st nest.
Currently work is now on-going to ensure no further nests are present. The Defra press release advises that Local beekeepers in the surrounding area are supporting this effort, including in Liskeard where a single sighting of an Asian hornet occurred.
Members of the public are also encouraged to report any further sightings of Asian hornets.
If you suspect you have seen an Asian hornet you can report this using the iPhone or Android app ‘Asian Hornet Watch’ or by emailing email@example.com. Identification guides and more information are available.
More Information about this discovery, along with surveillance activities in Hull and Liskeard can be found in the following Defra press release:
COLOSS Conference 2018
Velutina Task Force - COLOSS Conference 2018
Velutina Task Force scientific objectives are:
Velutina Task Force members aim to fulfil these objectives by implementing the following activities:
Special thanks are given to organisers: Dirk de Graaf from Ghent University, Belgium (local organiser) Maria Bouga from Agricultural University of Athens, Greece, Asli Özkirim from Hacettepe University, Turkey and Geoff Williams from Auburn University, USA
Xesús Feás would like to thank Deputation de A Coruña for funded the attendance of the Conference and financial support to investigate new methods of controlling the Vespa velutina, in a research program carried out at the Campus Terra of the University of Santiago de Compostela.
The Asian hornet is claiming lives in Galicia. During this summer - three people have died after receiving VV stings when they were cutting undergrowth near to their house.
In these moments of loss, words are useless. Words fall short of expressing my sorrow. It was a great shock to hear about it. Unfortunately is not the first, and will not be the last time that the Vespa velutina stings a person with #FatalResults. It is vital we unite with a joint projection in the fight against Vespa velutina giving open and honest discussions of the current situation.
#Vespavelutina #Asianhornet #Vespa_Velutina #xesusfeas #galicia
Using Micro computed tomography or "micro-CT" these images represents 2D (transverse, sagittal and frontal images) and 3D microscopy, where the very fine scale internal structure of Vespa velutina can be seen. Using x-ray imaging we gain high quality 3D reconstructions showing Vespa velutina in magnificent resolution.
Working towards the objective of attaining these high resolution precise morphological measurements will hopefully help us better understand this invasive species that’s a predator of honey bees with an ability to spread from 2 nests to 10'642 in just 4 years in Galicia (Northern Spain)
Safeguarding with science: Vespa velutina (Asian hornet).
During a recent visit to the UK Xesús Feás received a warm invite to visit the National Bee Unit (NBU), from Doctor Mike Brown, Head of the NBU at Animal & Plant Health Agency (APHA).
The NBU delivers the Bee Health Programmes on behalf of Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) and also works on behalf of the Scottish Government and Welsh Government.
The meeting took place in The National Agri-food Innovation Campus located at Sand Hutton (York) on 31st August, It was a successful meeting and the overall spirit was that of a joint projection to unite in the fight against Vespa velutina giving open and honest discussions of the current situation. At the same time it was a unique opportunity to share our research about Vespa velutina, and start a fruitful collaboration.
We brought together awareness about the risk of the invasive Vespa velutina, as well as the different experiences of combating the pest in other countries in order to find possible methods to control its expansion and to mitigate the negative effects in the beekeeping sector and in the environmental field as a whole. We shared information about the research program funded by Diputación de A Coruña carried out at the University of Santiago de Compostela to investigate new methods of controlling the Vespa velutina. At the same time, a consortium of scientists from the NBU and the Universities of Warwick and Newcastle have used data on the spread of the Asian hornet in France to develop a mathematical model that can estimate the hornet spread in the UK. There is a necessity for heightened vigilance of the Asian hornet in the UK.
Vespa velutina will undoubtedly profoundly alter our environment, affecting ecosystem processes and impacting on European society. As researchers we recognize the need to effectively confront the social dimensions and conflicts inherent to the invasive Vespa velutina research and management. The European Union has called for extensive research and dissemination of scientific knowledge on everything related to beekeeping to generate a general consensus and share appropriate knowledge.
Xesús believes this strategy is important going forward allowing adequate dissemination and socialization of scientific results and fostering relationships between scientists and beekeepers alike. The information provided on the Vespa velutina should be: correct, relevant, accessible, effective and based on scientific evidence. Society needs scientists that mix with the public explaining, surprising and enthusing.
The organization of society as a whole body against invasive Vespa velutina needs the expansion of knowledge, both in the exact sciences (like insect biology, mathematics, physics and chemistry) and the human and social sciences (like economics, psychology and political science). Approaching problems from an inter-disciplinary point of view and sharing the knowledge gathered in different areas is the new challenge facing research to mitigate the deleterious effects of Vespa velutina.
This is the horizon we’re moving towards. Our hopes are to stop the uncontrolled spread and effects of Vespa velutina.
© 2017 Xesús Feás ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
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Vespa velutina in UK: The contingency response has been initiated.
The National Bee Unit has confirmed another sighting of the Asian hornet at an apiary near Woolacombe in Devon (18 September 2017). This is the first confirmed sighting since last year, when a nest was discovered in the Tetbury area in Gloucestershire (20 September 2016).
Beekeepers within the area of the outbreak will be contacted by Bee Inspectors in order to carry out apiary inspections and to hang out traps and we ask for full your co-operation during these visits.
Work to identify, destroy and remove any nests is already underway, which includes:
• opening a local control centre to coordinate the response;
• deploying bee inspectors across the area, and;
• readying nest disposal experts who will use pesticides to kill the hornets and destroy any nests.
Spreading Fast From 2 nests to 10'642 in 4 years
Using data taken from the Galician government this table shows the total number of Vespa velutina nests eliminated (and retired) and neutralized (not retired)
Year Total Eliminated Neutralized
2014 769 727 42
2015 5022 4176 846
2016 10642 9208 1434
*Please note* These figures do not show the true situation, many nests have also been destroyed by beekeepers and private enterprises and have not been reported. Xesús will be compiling these figures and publishing the data when complete.
The following maps show the districts in Galicia Northern Spain where Vespa velutina nests were detected for 2014, 2015 and 2016.
As you can see, the last data released on approx. 8th august by Galician government (figure 4), shows an overall increase on the number of detected nests. It will be necessary to wait for the data at the end of the year for comparison purposes, but the present information clearly indicates to us that the Vespa velutina continues to spread without contention.
Figure 4. Map of Galicia, showing Vespa velutina nests detected as of 8th august 2017.
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The meeting celebrated in San Sadurdiño, was a success and the overall spirit was that of a joint projection to unite in the fight against Vespa velutina giving open and honest discussions of the current situation.
San Sadurdiño, 29th July...
At the same time, beekeepers were informed about the research program funded by Diputación de A Coruña and carried out at the University of Santiago de Compostela to investigate new methods of eradication of the Vespa velutina. A call was done for collaboration in Vespa velutina participatory action research (Ves_Par). As Xesús Feás explained: “A project in which beekeepers partner with scientists to answer real-world questions”.
Course program developed:
• Biology and cycle of Vespa velutina.
• Preventive control systems.
• Methods of eliminating Vespa velutina nests depending on the location.
• Care, preventive measures and first aid.
• Field practices. We will set an afternoon / evening to eliminate nests at different locations (aerial and terrestrial).
• Research program funded by Diputación de A Coruña and carried out at the University of Santiago de Compostela to investigate new methods of eradication of the Vespa velutina.
• A call for beekeepers participation: “Implementation of a new method for deactivation of nests: development, procurement and testing of a specific biocide to combat the invasive Asian wasp Vespa velutina (VV)”.
The EU has called for extensive research and dissemination of scientific knowledge on everything related to beekeeping to generate a general consensus and share appropriate knowledge. Xesús believes this strategy is important going forward allowing adequate dissemination and socialization of scientific results and fostering relationships between scientists and beekeepers alike.
Special thanks are giving to Rafael Díaz (Secretary of Galicia Beekeepers Association in Ferrolterra area) and to San Sadurdiño district.
The IX edition of the Apiculture Fair of Cantabria, due to take place on 21 and 22 October 2017 in the National Gando Market of Torrelavega.
Asian hornet (Vespa velutina): a devourer not only of bees.
Invasive alien species are the second leading cause of the loss of biodiversity in the world after the destruction of habitats. The Asian hornet (Vespa velutina nigrithorax) was accidentally arrived in south west France in 2004 expanding across French territory, but also in Spain, Portugal and Italy. The velutina is a predator of bees, but unlike the Asian honeybee (Apis cerana) the European bee (Apis mellifera) does not exhibit effective defensive behaviour. The expansion of the Asian hornet has been expeditious, arriving during the period of 2009-2010 to the Iberian Peninsula (Basque Country and Navarre). Later new foci of entry were observed both in the north of Spain and Portugal, colonizing in a few years almost all parts of the northwest peninsular. Much of the feeding of these hornet colonies is based on bees and other insects, and although the impact they may have on the wild insect population is unknown, it has become a major threat to beekeeping and biodiversity, as well as for other productive sectors (forestry and fruit growing).
It is at this time of year that foundress Vespa velutina queen (VVQ) wakes up, and starts to construct her primary nest. So, the VVQ will be looking for flowering plants not only to feed on nectar but to hunt prey.
Xesus Feas has many ideas in preventing the spread of the Vespa velutina (VV) One of them is by trapping the Vespa velutina queen (VVQ) as by doing this, He feels we could stop the full cycle and development of the future colony
Xesus Feas's findings show that the Camellia plant is a good starting point to set a selective trap to capture the VVQ. In Galicia, Northern Spain where Xesus currently resides and has been researching the Vespa velutina frequently visits the Camellia plant when flowering. Furthermore, the VVQ uses the Camellia plant for nesting purposes.
Dr.Takatoshi Ueno, from Institute of Biological Control (Faculty of Agriculture, Hyushu University, Japan) described in a previous paper a list of flowering plants that the Vespa velutina (VV) uses for feeding on nectar and for searching prey (Paper access:
The genus Camellia (Theaceae) is native to East Asia and comprises more than 200 woody evergreen species. Some species possess great economic value, particularly C. sinensis (the tea plant) which is grown commercially mainly in tropical and subtropical regions. Other species such as C. japonica, C. reticulata and C. sasanqua are cultivated in temperate regions worldwide as ornamentals.
In Galicia (NW Spain), one of the most important Camellia producing-regions in Europe, about 2.5 million Camellia plants (most of them C. japonica, CJ) are produced in nurseries for use as houseplants and in gardening each year and then exported to markets in Belgium, The Netherlands, France, the United Kingdom and Portugal.
It was celebrated in 2014 the International Camellia Congress (Pontevedra, Galicia, Spain). (More information at: http://www.camellia2014.depo.es/
It was a pleasure to participated in the event, in fact some of my previous research was carried out with Dr. Carmen Salinero (President of the Spanish Camellia Society and Director for Spain of the International Camellia Society,Spain). For more information:
After Xesus conducted a personal interview with many Camellia producers and beekeepers, field information show him that in Galicia Vespa velutina visit Camellia when flowering. Furthermore, VVQ use Camellia for nesting purpose.
From this point of view, Camellia is a good point to selective trap VVQ at this time of the year.
Xesús Feás was involved in delivering a course for Spanish firefighters to help prevent the spread of the Vespa velutina Asian wasp.
Spanish regional government organizes a course aimed at offering a "greater efficiency" in the intervention of the Vespa velutina
In Northern Spain the Vespa velutina has become a big problem and during 2016 the emergency services received 2636 calls about the Vespa velutina resulting in 2600 nests being discovered
During the week a total of 132 personal attended the course where the firefighters were trained to identify the primary and secondary nests of the Asian wasp and to try out actions for the removal of the nests at sometimes 25 meters high.
This news was published in vive campo where you can read more... http://www.vivecampoo.es/noticia/bomberos-112-se-forman-luchar-avispa-asiatica-11561.html
And further news can be found at http://www.elperiodico.com/es/sociedad/20170327/los-bomberos-de-cantabria-perfeccionan-sus-competencias-para-luchar-contra-la-avispa-asiatica-5930326
or at https://www.mituin.com/articulo/los-137-bomberos-autonomicos-aprenden-a-eliminar-los-nidos-de-avispa-asiatica
The Plymouth Herald stated that Westcountry beekeepers are bracing themselves for an invasion of deadly Asian hornets.
Last autumn an Asian hornet (Vespa velutina was sighted near Tetbury in Gloucestershire – it was apparently the first sighting in Britain.
National Bee Unit issue:
Asian hornet in the UK: Update and Request for Heightened Vigilance.
During January 2017 The National Bee Unit issued a 'Dear Beekeepers' notice requesting for heightened Vigilance on the Vespa velutina nigrothorax, the yellow-legged hornet (a.k.a the Asian hornet)
which was first found in the UK in 2016. From findings, the first European sighting of the hornet was reported in France back in 2004. The Vespa velutina has since spread by around 80 to 100 kilometeres per annum, invading Belgium, Germany, Italy Spain and Portugal. They advised that Adult hornets are voracious predators of our honey bees and other beneficial insects, resulting in colony losses in France.
Asian hornets were reported near Tetbury, Gloucestershire during in September 2016, and a trapped individual was reported from Somerset. The nest found in Gloucestershire was destroyed by the National Bee Unit Inspectors and members of the Wildlife team in the Animal and Plant Health Agency. Despite extensive field inspections, they advise that no further Asian hornets were sighted in Somerset. However, given the ability of the Asian hornet to spread rapidly means that we must all remain vigilant and aware of any possible activity.
The Asian hornet’s long-feared arrival on the UK mainland has been confirmed, government scientists have said, with ecologists warning of dire consequences for honeybees if the species is not swiftly eliminated. The Guardian newspaper published an article in September stating Matt Shardlow, the chief executive of the charity Buglife, said: “It’s really bad news. The ecological impact is that it potentially affects our ability to feed ourselves in the future. Read more here
International seminar Vespa asiática (V. Velutina nigrithorax): an exotic predator in Europe. What does the future hold?
Xesús Feás was recently the chairman involved in the organisation of an international seminar on the Vespa velutina held at Terra Campus, the University of Santiago de Compostela, in the city of Lugo on the 1st and 2nd of September 2016. The seminar was entitled: Vespa asiática (V. Velutina nigrithorax): an exotic predator in Europe. What does the future hold?
More knowledge of the ecology and behaviour of this invasive pest is essential to provide an effective management program for its control. The seminar brought together awareness about the species, as well as the different experiences of combating the pest in other countries, in order to find possible methods to control its expansion and to mitigate the negative effects in the beekeeping sector and in the environmental field as a whole.
Anatomy Of Vespa Velutina As Never Seen Before.
Asian Hornets Killed 6 People In France
Asian Hornet (Vespa Velutina): A Devourer Not Only Of Bees
International Seminar On Vespa Velutina
National Bee Unit
National Bee Unit Issue Asian Hornet In The UK: Update And Request For Heightened Vigilance.
Spanish Regional Government Organizes A Course Aimed At Offering A "greater Efficiency" In The Intervention Of The Vespa Velutina
Threat To Honeybees As Vespa Velutina Arrives In UK
Velutina Task Force
Vespa Velutina DEATHS
Vespa Velutina Research
Video Of Vespa Velutina Attacking Honey Bees
Warning Over Invasion