"The presence of the wasp velutina has decreased considerably throughout the territory of the municipality of Montalegre, confirmed with reduced or zero predation on apiaries. With this, not only are the beekeepers are quite happy but the entire ecosystem of Alto Barroso is richer," said José Luís Tavares, coordinator of the municipal plan to combat that invasive species.

Since 2019, the municipality in the Vila Real district has been spreading a network of traps for the Asian wasp throughout its territory. The network prepared for 2021 is already in place and aims to "capture the founder wasps (future queens), thus seeking to interrupt their life cycle early".

The network of traps only works until the end of May, because this is the period when the young queen wasps come out of hibernation and the more that are caught, the fewer nests will be founded.

"With the identification of only one wasp velutina nest during 2020, the municipality of Montalegre achieves, in two years, a 97 percent reduction of nests of this invasive species and predator of the honey bee," the council stressed in a statement.

The municipality noted that in 2018, 40 nests were identified. In 2019, and already as a consequence of the implementation of the plan, nine nests were identified and removed.

"These excellent results, which exceeded the best initial expectations, are the result of methodical planning and persistent work, taken seriously by the municipality of Montalegre," said José Luís Tavares.

The project also provides an interactive map, with periodic updates at each monitoring, with the data of the captures made, so that anyone can follow the development of this campaign.

The municipal plan includes other measures such as awareness-raising actions and clarification of the local population about the problem and for the identification of nests, as well as the removal of all nests.

The presence of the Asian wasp was confirmed in the district of Vila Real in 2015, having been detected for the first time in the municipality of Ribeira de Pena.

The hornet velutina is an Asian species that has a destructive action on honey bee hives and can be a danger to public health.

This predatory wasp species was introduced into Europe via the port of Bordeaux in France in 2004. The first signs of its presence in Portugal appeared in 2011, but the situation only worsened from the end of the following year.