An environmental analyst has appealed to people suffering from allergies to ensure they always carry their emergency medication with them as the number of incidents involving Asian hornets across Europe appears to be increasing.
Graduated engineer Harald Brugger from the Vienna-based Umweltberatung consulting agency warned that anyone getting too close to a nest of the invasive species was at high risk of getting stung “several times.”
The ecotoxicologist told Austrian broadcaster Puls4: “Approaching a nest can be considered a disturbance by the Asian hornet.”
Harald urged anyone going for a walk or doing any kind of outdoor sports to stay clear of Asian hornet nests. A distance of at least five metres (16.4 ft) should be ensured at all times, he emphasised.
Harald explained: “Singular stings are not a health risk – unless the person suffers from an allergy.”
The Umweltberatung team leader explained: “For this group of people, it is of great importance to keep their emergency medication kit with them at any time so they can apply it immediately.”
Allergic people should especially be cautious regarding potentially getting stung anywhere near their throat, Harald added.
Asian hornet nests – which have the size of a medicine ball – feature between 400 and 700 animals.
The Asian hornet (Vespa velutina) is a predatory insect which kills and eats domesticated honeybee colonies. It is indigenous to Southeast Asia. The first time Asian hornets have been discovered in Europe dates back to 2004.
Harald revealed that Asian hornets were less common in Central Europe than wasps.
Asked why getting stung by hornets tends to be more painful, he told Puls4: “Their stings are longer and broader than those of wasps.”
Harald added: “Remain calm if you come across a single hornet somewhere. Don’t panic!”
The environmental analyst said anyone getting stung should put an ice cube or half an onion on the affected spot.
Benjamin Waldmann from the environment ministry of Baden-Wuerttemberg recently confirmed that 15 Asian hornet nests had been discovered all over the region – which is located in southwestern Germany – in 2022.
Benjamin revealed that removing a nest costs up to EUR 3,000 (GBP 2,640) due to the needed involvement of firefighters.
Dr Kristin Krewenka – who heads the Association of Beekeepers in Germany’s Baden Area – admitted the members of her organisation were “profoundly concerned” regarding the aggressive species’ proliferation.