The hornet challenge

Researchers assessed the feasibility of eradicating or limiting further spread of Asian hornet in Belgium very low. This is mainly due to the limited effectiveness of the currently available management measures, the high cost, the short timeframe required for intervention, and the high probability of reintroduction from abroad. A realistic management strategy is therefore aimed at mitigating the impact of Asian hornets through population management. Possible measures to achieve this are destruction of nests, impact-mitigating measures at beehives and awareness raising.

Management methods

Ill-considered management can have counterproductive effects on population development of Asian hornet. The following recommendations can be made based on research and experiences abroad:

Nest detection

The challenge for managing Asian hornets is to find their nest, a time-consuming job. It is important to note the direction of flight (beelining) or to try and follow the wasps with binoculars. In case of hornets being reported in an area you can use the Jersey method. Jars with lures are hung up in the vicinity of a presumed nest and are checked for hornets. By timing how long it takes before a marked hornet is back on the jar, you can estimate the distance to the nest. Other methods include the use of tracking devices or ivy bioblitzes. From the beginning of September, volunteers will also start looking for ivy or snowberry. These autumn flowering plants are excellent plants to find Asian hornet's on. Even on an early morning with cold temperatures (10°C - 12°C), you can spot Asian hornet's stuffing themselves with fast sugars. Another popular plant is Camellia sasanqua. However, this plant is not native and therefore not abundant on Belgian soil.

Nest found

Do you think you found a nest of Asian hornet? Report it through the Vespa-Watch website or on iNaturalist and provide as many details as possible about your observation. This way, experts can determine whether it is really Asian hornet and nest destruction can be planned.

Destroying hornet nests is specialist work that requires training and materials (wasp suit, eye protection, atomizer, telescopic lance, fire ladder). If possible, provide details about the location (address), the accessibility of the nest, the height, and leave your mobile phone number so actions can be planned more easily. Destruction of an Asian hornet nest is only performed after verified reports of a nest.