Vespa velutina: an alien driver of honey bee colony losses.
Vespa velutina, or Asian yellow-legged hornet, was accidentally introduced from China to other parts of the world: South Korea in 2003, Europe in 2004, and Japan in 2012. V. velutina represents a serious threat to native pollinators. It is known to be a fierce predator of honey bees, but can also hunt wild bees, native wasps, and other flying insects. When V. velutina colonies are developed, many hornets capture foraging bees which are coming back to their hives, causing an increase in homing failure and paralysis of foraging thus leading to colony collapse. The hornets may enter weak beehives to prey on brood and pillage honey. Unlike Apis cerana, Apis mellifera is unable to cope with the predation pressure of V. velutina. Monitoring the spread of an invasive alien species is crucial to plan appropriate management actions and activities to limit the expansion of the species. In addition, an early detection of V. velutina in areas far away from the expansion front allows a rapid response aimed to remove these isolated populations before the settlement of the species. Where V. velutina is now established, control measures to prevent colony losses must be implemented with an integrated pest management approach.