a french garden

Asian Hornet Help required

6 Comments

Thanks Stephen for this.
You can imagine I would be keen on any help to combat Vespa velutina which is threatening Europe.
I am hoping for something more rapid coming through. Specific attractant? Releasing sterile males?

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Author: afrenchgarden

Born in Scotland I have lived in England, Iran, USA and Greece. The house and land was bought twelve years ago in fulfilment of the dream of living in France that my Francophile husband nurtured. We had spent frequent holidays in France touring the more northerly parts and enjoying the food, scenery, architecture and of course gardens. However, we felt that to retire in France and enjoy a more clement climate than we currently had in Aberdeen we would need to find somewhere south of the river Loire but not too south to make returning to visit the UK onerous. The year 2000 saw us buying our house and setting it up to receive us and the family on holidays. The garden was more a field and we were helped by my son to remove the fencing that had separated the previous owners’ goats, sheep and chickens. We did inherit some lovely old trees and decided to plant more fruit trees that would survive and mature with the minimum of care until we took up permanent residence. The move took place in 2006 and the love hate relation with the “garden” started. There was so much to do in the house that there was little energy left for the hard tasks in the garden. It was very much a slow process and a steep learning curve. Expenditures have been kept to a minimum. The majority of the plants have been cuttings and I try to gather seeds wherever I can. The fruit trees have all been bought but we have tender hearts and cannot resist the little unloved shrub at a discount price and take it as a matter of honour to nurse it back to health. This year I have launched my Blog hoping to reach out to other gardeners in other countries. My aim is to make a garden for people to enjoy, providing shady and sunny spots with plants that enjoy living in this area with its limestone based subsoil and low rainfall in a warm summer. Exchanging ideas and exploring mutual problems will enrich my experience trying to form my French garden.

6 thoughts on “Asian Hornet Help required

  1. I think there is already a lot of promising research surrounding the Yellow-legged Asian Hornet. We already know that a local native Conopid fly has taken to parasitising them; although they have spread rapidly their numbers have not increased to the extent that was predicted; we already know that their genetic line is very narrow ie they are descended from a very small number of original imports and are beginning to display behaviour that is not to their survival advantage. I think there are much greater, but less visible, threats to honey bees that would be more worthy of research support. Personally, of the species offered up for voting, I’d be voting for either the Daubentons Bat or the Giant Hogweed projects. Sequencing their genomes seem much more likely to lead to interesting useful things, albeit unrelated to honey bees. Spoken as a non-beekeeper of course. I don’t have to witness my hives being attacked.

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    • I am not aware of any promising research concerning the Asian Hornet. I did see one study about the lack of diversity but it was only based on 20 nests all taken from the same area and so not a wide enough or large enough sample. However, lack of genetic diversity can in rare cases result in improved fitness after a bottleneck in the population if any deleterious genes have been deleted, leading to a greater fitness. If you think of genetic fitness being measured by the number of healthy adults being produced by by an organism going onto produce more healthy adults, then the Asian Hornet is very genetically fit and shows no signs of reduced fitness – so far. I’d be very interested in hearing about the Conopid fly. Amelia

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  2. I voted for the bat and the wasp, thanks for sending this along.
    bonnie in provence

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  3. Yes, a specific attractant would be helpful–then you could handle your hornets how we deal with yellow jackets–traps set early in spring to prevent nearby colonies.

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    • The attractant is the only thing that might make a dent in the population. In the U.K. they have managed to destroy the nests by employing heat seeking equipment in areas that have had hornet sightings. The problem is finding nests in the summer in the trees which is virtually impossible without this. I do not know how costly this equipment is but it could help in France. Amelia

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