Notes on the nest architecture and colony composition in winter of the yellow-legged Asian hornet, Vespa velutina Lepeletier 1836 (Hym.: Vespidae), in its introduced habitat in Galicia (NW Spain).
Fifteen years ago, at least one multimated female yellow-legged Asian hornet (Vespa velutina Lepeletier 1836) arrived in France, giving rise to a pan-European invasion, altering the environment, affecting ecosystem processes, and impacting society. During winter, V. velutina nests (n = 3) were collected in Galicia and data on internal and external aspects of the nests and the colony as a whole were collected. The whole colony population (WCPN; adult insects, larvae, and pupae in percentages) was as follows: nest A: n = 176 (49%, 3%, and 48%); nest B: n = 1979 (52%, 36%, and 12%); and nest C: n = 662 (5%, 27%, and 8%). The adult insect population (IAPN; males, workers, and gynes in percentages) was as follows: nest A: n = 87 (11%, 66%, and 23%); nest B: n = 1021 (3%, 62%, and 35%); and nest C: n = 430 (20%, 73%, and 7%). As a small number of queens is sufficient for a population to develop, it is necessary to avoid continued spread by deactivating and removing all nests, even those detected in winter. This practice can be of greatest importance in border areas where V. velutina is expanding into new territory.