Beekeepers in southwestern France have opted to set up specially designed traps targeting an invasive species in a bid to prevent the loss of further colonies.
Christian Laprébende, the mayor of the city of Auch, invited local apiarists to debate their most urgent current challenges.
The gathered beekeepers agreed to install Jabeprode devices around their hives in the coming weeks to stop the Asian hornet (Vespa velutina) from further preying on their colonies.
Invented in 2018 by Denis Jaffré from Brittany, the Jabeprode traps feature a bait to attract the invasive species which eats and kills western honeybees (Apis mellifera).
The filter pattern at the innovative boxes’ entrances ensures that the aggressive predator gets trapped while smaller pollinators such as honeybees and the various solitary bee species manage to leave them again.
The Asian hornet is indigenous to Southeast Asia. However, Europe has become its habitat since being spotted for the first time on the continent in France in 2004.
Asian hornet queens measure approximately 30 millimetres while their colonies’ workers reach a body length of around 20 millimetres.
Henri Chavarot is the deputy mayor of Auch and a professional apiarist.
He told La Depeche newspaper: “The problem with traditional traps is that they aren’t selective at all. Overall, installing them has surely had a harmful effect on biodiversity.”
On its website, the creators of Jabeprode urge beekeepers not to remove any Asian hornets from the traps after the insects have died as they would continue to lure their conspecifics by spreading pheromones.
The different models of their device – which cost between EUR 45 (GBP 40) and EUR 80 (GBP 70) – can be ordered online.
The beekeepers of the Auch area agreed to observe the impact of installing the Jabeprode devices and exchange information over the coming weeks before deciding on how to proceed in their battle against the Asian hornet.