An Asian hornet nest has been removed from a German’s garage after an attentive apiarist tagged suspicious insects outside his hives.
The beekeeper observed that several large winged insects had encircled his apiary in Leichlingen, North Rhine-Westphalia, for some time. Assuming that they were Asian hornets, an invasive species which can kill whole honeybee colonies, he colourfully labelled them.
The man, whose name has not been revealed by German news platforms and papers, also informed the regional veterinarian authority. Subsequently, a neighbour got in touch with town hall officials to inform them about a high number of tagged insects around his garage.
Experts eventually removed a large Asian hornet nest from the resident’s garage. It was not destroyed but sealed and frozen for research purposes.
Biologist Wilfried Knickmeier told the Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger newspaper: “Fortunately, the beekeeper informed the responsible department about his observations.”
The apiarist reportedly grew suspicious due to the insects’ distinctive black chest and yellow legs. This colour combination differentiates the species, which is also known as Vespa velutina and Vespa velutina nigrithorax, from native wasp and hornet types.
Thomas Mönig heads the local veterinarian authority. He said the further proliferation of the species could be stopped “if spring will be rainy.”
Thomas appealed to apiarists: “Take care of your hives and get in touch immediately if there are suspiciously looking hornets.”
Asian hornets have spread across Europe after arriving there in cargo from China in 2004. The species was first spotted in southern France. Its quick cross-continent expansion has worried environmentalists, beekeepers and farmers.