Increasing numbers of beehives in cities mean Asian hornets can easily find their favourite food there. Keystone / Bob Edme
The city of Geneva has become the Swiss capital of the Asian hornet, an invasive species that has been on the rise in Switzerland in recent months, reports Le Matin Dimanche. This content was published on June 4, 2023 June 4, 2023 Le Matin Dimanche/Keystone-SDA/jc
"By Friday evening, we had received 31 reports confirming the presence of Asian hornets,” biologist Daniel Cherix, head of the task force monitoring this insect, told the paper.“Almost all of them were from French-speaking Switzerland, except for one from canton Basel Country.”
Cherix says there were two reports in canton Vaud, four in Neuchâtel, seven in the Jura and as many as 17 in Geneva. He points out that reports were extremely rare this time last year. Cherix explains these hornets' apparent preference for Geneva by its proximity to France, which is already colonized, the fact that it is harder to discover nests in urban areas, and especially the increase in beehives in cities.
The Asian hornet is particularly devastating for bee colonies, feeding on honeybees and other insects. A colony of Asian hornets can eat more than 11 kilogrammes of insects every year.
They were first spotted in Switzerland in 2017 in the Jura, but it was from the second half of 2022 that the situation changed.“We discovered Asian hornets in 24 places and destroyed nests in four cantons,” Cherix told Le Matin Dimanche.
+read how switzerland is battling invasive species
The biologist says“the next few weeks will be crucial”. At this time of year Asian hornets can be spotted in gardens and may even enter houses. He advises members of the public who think they have spotted one to kill it and send a photo or video as recommended by this websiteexternal link .Asian hornets are more black than yellow, whereas the European hornet is more yellow than black. They are not very aggressive and rarely sting humans, according to the expert.
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