A biodiversity-friendly method to mitigate the invasive Asian hornet’s impact on European honey bees
- 94 Downloads
The Asian hornet is an invasive predator of honey bees in Western Europe. The Asian hornet-related risk of bee colony mortality has motivated the development of biological and physical control methods over the past years. Although the technical cost–benefit ratio has been established for most of these control methods, it is still unclear whether such methods can reduce the detrimental effects of the Asian hornet on European honey bees. In this study, we investigated the potential benefits of a biodiversity-friendly control method, the beehive muzzle. We observed the flight activity of bees and the predation behaviour of the Asian hornets at the beehive entrance of 22 pairs of honey bee colonies, each with one muzzle-equipped colony and one control colony without muzzle, in France. We measured HF (bee homing failure due to hornet predation of bees) and FP (foraging paralysis: the stop of flight activity in beehives due to hovering hornets), and estimated the mortality probability of the colonies using a mechanistic modelling approach. The beehive muzzle did not reduce the hornet-related HF, but drastically reduced FP. Moreover, the muzzle increased the survival probability of hornet-stressed colonies up to 51% in context of high abundance of Asian hornets based on theoretical simulations. These results suggest that installing beehive muzzles can mitigate the detrimental effect of the Asian hornet on European honey bees. This low-cost technique does not lead to any environmental impacts and could therefore be recommended to beekeepers as an effective biodiversity-friendly method of Asian hornet control.
KeywordsApis mellifera Biological invasion Control methods Predator–prey interaction Yellow-legged hornet
Special thanks go to A. Lavignotte for conception of the Muzzle setup and constructive discussions. We are grateful to F. Nürnberger for his constructive comments at the first stages of the manuscript. We also thank F. Muller and the beekeepers for help in the field, especially S. Mignot-Gasparoux, A. Lavignotte, the M.J.C. Berlioz, A. Richard, O. Coulon, Y. Ducourt, S. Berthomé, B. Devaure, H. Marques de Brito, Association entre l’herbe et le vent, P. Nikiel, P. Fert, O. Bessonnet, J.F. Serra, M. Deux, L. Gouverneur, L. Jezequel, and Y. Le Dantec. Finally, we thank the four anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments on the manuscript.
This study was supported by grants from the European Community Program (797/2004) for French beekeeping (RISQAPI project), the French Ministry of Ecology and the French Ministry of Agriculture.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
No conflict of interest was reported by the authors.
Human and animals rights
All applicable international, national and/or, institutional guidelines for the care and use of animals were followed.
- EFSA (2015) Statement on the suitability of the BEEHAVE model for its potential use in a regulatory context and for the risk assessment of multiple stressors in honeybees at the landscape level. EFSA J 13:91Google Scholar
- Gray A, Brodschneider R, Adjlane N, Ballis A, Brusbardis V, Charrière JD et al (2019) Loss rates of honey bee colonies during winter 2017/18 in 36 countries participating in the COLOSS survey, including effects of forage sources. J Apic Res. https://doi.org/10.1080/00218839.2019.1615661 Google Scholar
- Grosso-Silva JM, Maia M (2012) Vespa velutina Lepeletier, 1836 (hymenoptera, Vespidae), new species for Portugal. Arq Entomol 6:53–54Google Scholar
- Haxaire J, Bouguet JP, Tamisier JP (2006) Vespa velutina Lepeletier, 1836, une redoutable nouveauté pour la faune de France (Hym., Vespidae). Bull Soc Entomol Fr 111:194Google Scholar
- R Development Core Team (2018) R: a language and environment for statistical computing. R Foundation for Statistical Computing, ViennaGoogle Scholar
- Rodríguez-Flores MS, Seijo-Rodríguez A, Escuredo O, del Carmen Seijo-Coello M (2019) Spreading of Vespa velutina in northwestern Spain: influence of elevation and meteorological factors and effect of bait trapping on target and non-target living organisms. J Pest Sci 92:557–565CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Rome Q, Villemant C (2018) Le Frelon asiatique Vespa velutina. In: INPN—MNHN. http://frelonasiatique.mnhn.fr/home. Accessed Nov 2018
- Rome Q, Perrard A, Muller F, Villemant C (2011) Monitoring and control modalities of a honeybee predator, the yellow-legged hornet Vespa velutina nigrithorax (Hymenoptera: Vespidae). Aliens Invasive Species 31:7–15Google Scholar
- Sokal RR, Rohlf FJ (1994) Biometry: the principles and practice of statistics in biological research, 3rd revised edition. W.H. Freeman & Co Ltd, New YorkGoogle Scholar
- Witt R (2015) Erstfund eines Nestes der Asiatischen Hornisse Vespa velutina Lepeletier, 1838 in Deutschland und Details zum Nestbau (Hymenoptera, Vespinae). Ampulex 7:42–53Google Scholar