The economic cost of control of the invasive yellow-legged Asian hornet.
Since its accidental introduction in 2003 in France, the yellow-legged Asian hornet Vespa velutina nigrithorax is rapidly spreading through France and Europe. Economic assessments regarding the costs of invasive species often reveal important costs from required control measures or damages. Despite the rapid invasion of the Asian yellow-legged hornet in Europe and potential damage to apiculture and pollination services, the costs of its invasion have not been evaluated yet. Here we aimed at studying the costs arising from the Asian yellow-legged hornet invasion by providing the first estimate of the control cost. Today, the invasion of the Asian yellow-legged hornet is mostly controlled by nest destruction. We estimated that nest destruction cost €23 million between 2006 and 2015 in France. The yearly cost is increasing as the species keeps spreading and could reach €11.9 million in France, €9.0 million in Italy and €8.6 million in the United Kingdom if the species fills its current climatically suitable distribution. Although more work will be needed to estimate the cost of the Asian yellow-legged hornet on apiculture and pollination services, they likely exceed the current costs of control with nest destruction. It could thus be worth increasing control efforts by aiming at destroying a higher percentage of nests.