Edition 1424
20 May 2017
Edition: 1424

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Environmental association warns Asian hornets are ‘uncontrolled’ and threatening Portugal’s bees

in News · 20-04-2017 15:41:00 · 0 Comments

Environmentalist group Quercus has warned that the Asian predatory wasp is “uncontrolled” in this country and has now spread to cities, including Porto. The group has produced a leaflet on the invasive species to offer information and advice.

Environmental association warns Asian hornets are ‘uncontrolled’ and threatening Portugal’s bees

Quercus described the situation as being “uncontrolled” and causing 5 million a year in losses to the honey industry.
The group’s chairman, João Branco, said that there are now “many thousands” of the nests, which have a tendency to colonise in cities and were first restricted to northern Portugal but progressively moved south and have recently been seen in the Alentejo and even the Algarve.
In a statement Quercus explained it has “lost count of the number of Asian hornets’ nests found in Portugal, but the number is already in the many thousands.”
The association has slammed an action plan introduced by the Institute for Nature and Forest Conservation (ICNF) and the Directorate General of Food and Veterinary (DGAV) in January 2015, saying its results were “disappointing” and that “the plan has failed across the board.”
Quercus stressed that the plan failed to involve environmental associations as was suggested at the time, and emphasised concerns about the “accelerated expansion” of the Asian wasp in urban environments, which “is already evident in the cities along the North Coast of the Country, including Porto.”
It called for a “new and energetic plan of monitoring and fighting this invasive species, and that, this time, it includes environment protection associations as partners.”
The Asian Hornet is listed as one of 37 exotic invasive species that are a concern to the EU.
Estimates are that the species could cause a reduction in national honey production resulting in losses to the tune of around €5 million.
Other exotic invasive insects are also threatening Portugal’s economy and biodiversity, such as the Drosophila susukii fly, which attacks blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, raspberries and cherries, and the chestnut wasp, which is already attacking swathes of Chestnut trees in Trás-os-Montes and the Beiras.
EU estimates suggest that the annual economic impacts of invasive alien species amount to €12 billion throughout the European Union, and for Portugal this figure will exceed €250 million.

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Edition 1424
20 May 2017
Edition: 1424

Read this week's issue online exactly as it appears in print.

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