News article in Metro magazine about economic impact of the Asian Hornet
11th April 2020 at 1:02 pm #2711Tim+N
Richard Hartley-ParkinsonFriday. 10 Apr 2020. Metro magazine.
Asian hornet invasion set to cost UK £7,600,000 a year and devastate bee population.
The Asian hornet preys on smaller creatures, particularly bees
Asian hornets are invading the UK and it could cost us millions of pounds, according to a new study. The wasps are having a devastating impact on Europe’s already dwindling honeybee population.
Experts warn their environmental destruction could cost the UK up to £7.6 million pounds every year. Asian hornets are similar to European hornets but they are not native to the UK. They are smaller than our native hornet, originally from Southeast Asia, that prey on small creatures – especially bees. The yellow legged hornets were accidentally introduced to France from China in 2004 and they have been spreading rapidly throughout Europe ever since. Experts estimate the Asian hornet colonised most of France at a rate of 40 to 50 miles per year. The species arrived in Spain in 2010, Portugal and Belgium in 2011, Italy in 2012 and Germany in 2014. The invasive hornets made it to the UK in 2016.
French scientists evaluated the estimated cost of this non-native hornet invasion to Europe. They did so by analysing the negative impact Asian hornets have on ecosystems and the global decline in pollination and honey production. The invasion is mainly controlled by destroying hornet nests and bait trapping. But the authors of a study published in the journal NeoBiota say these methods are not enough to completely eradicate the species. The team divided costs into three main categories – prevention of the invasion, fighting the invasion, and damage caused by the invasion. The cost of fighting the invasion was the price of nest destruction – calculated by studying the companies that provide the service. Results showed the estimated yearly cost for eradicating Asian hornets would be £10.5 million for France, £8 million for Italy and £7.6 million for the UK.
In Japan and South Korea, where the species has already been observed, the total yearly cost is estimated at £17.2 million and £10.5 million respectively. The cost of fighting the invasion could cost the UK £7.6 million (Picture: Getty) The US, Australia, Turkey and Argentina are also in danger, with experts estimating the cost to be £23.8 million to the US alone.
In conclusion, the scientists call for more active measures and research, related to the invasion of V. velutina nigrithorax. Provided that other countries, including the U.S., Australia, Turkey and Argentina appear to be climatically suitable for the species, they are also in danger (e.g., €26.9M for the U.S.).
Research leader Professor Franck Courchamp said: ‘In 2006, only two years after the hornet was first observed in France, three departments were already invaded and the cost of nest destruction was estimated at €408,000. ‘Since then, the estimated yearly costs have been increasing by about €450,000 each year, as the hornet keeps spreading and invades new departments. ‘Overall, we estimated €23 million as the cost of nest destruction between 2006 and 2015. ‘If the hornet keeps spreading at a similar rate, we expect the yearly cost of nest destruction to reach an estimated value of €11.9 million (given that all suitable areas are invaded) in just 12 years.’
So far, nest destruction is the most effective way to fight the invasion but experts say it is not enough to kill off the species. Only 30 to 40 per cent of the detected nests are destroyed each year in France. And those that are destroyed are the ones that have been deemed particularly harmful to human or beekeeping activities. The scientists are calling for more active measures and research into the invasion of Asian hornets.
Professor Courchamp said: ‘The current study presents only the first estimates of the economic costs resulting from the Asian hornet, but definitely more actions need to be taken in order to handle harmful invasive species – one of the greatest threats to biodiversity and ecosystem functioning.
Asian hornet sightings in the UK should be reported using the Asian Hornet Watch app.
11th April 2020 at 4:49 pm #2714Gary
Clearly hoping to sopt AHs, find the nest and then destroy it is not a long term solution. Perhaps someone needs to breed sterile AHs or some other ‘biological’ approach is needed.
14th April 2020 at 9:29 am #2742TimParticipant
There were researchers at the National AH conference in February (held in Warwick conveniently).
There is hope yet that they might be able to do just that and also further work on pheromone traps. That is why we should ‘hold them off for as long as possible. Because once they become established it will be very difficult and expensive to deal with. Defra and the NBU will then not be able to cope ( a bit like the NHS and C19) and it will be up to pest control and private means to deal with nests.
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