The municipality of Penacova, in the district of Coimbra, “through the Municipal Civil Protection Service (SMPC), has been intensifying the prevention and combating the plague of the wasp velutina”, an action that will reinforce with “the installation, in the geographical area of the municipality, 400 traps containing sugary attractants”, affirms the town council, in a note sent to the Lusa agency.

The traps are part of the “strategy to combat the velutina wasp defined within the scope of the SMPC”, which will also be responsible for its maintenance, replacement of the attraction and subsequent collection of the same to “prevent the proliferation of unwanted plastics in the territory”, explains the mayor, Humberto Oliveira.

“It is our firm belief that the creation of a team to specifically combat this problem, allowed us to collect and process data that we did not have before and that today are crucial for us to understand the scale of this plague and so that, we can effectively combat it with a well-defined and planned strategy”, sustains, quoted by the Chamber, Humberto Oliveira.

In 2019, the Câmara de Penacova created a multidisciplinary team dedicated exclusively to the surveillance and control of the velutina wasp in the municipality, to “work together with beekeepers in a concerted manner and help to solve their difficulties”.

In this context, in November 2019, during the Feira do Mel e do Campo, the Câmara de Penacova distributed seven tons of bee food, in order to fill the shortages verified.

The action plan for 2020 foresees the “production of traps intended for supply to beekeepers in the municipality, who are responsible for their maintenance and later collection for recycling”, says the municipality.

But “this work only makes sense, if the population and, in particular, the beekeepers, reinforce the network of traps, as well as the vigilance in relation to the appearance, at this time, of primary nests and from June / July, for the appearance of secondary nests”, warns Humberto Oliveira.

The services of the municipality and, “in particular, the Municipal Civil Protection Service”, are alert, but it is the citizens who, “most effectively, can exercise this surveillance”, communicating the detection of velutina wasp nests to the respective Board Parish or the City Council.

"This is, in fact, a problem for everyone and transversal to the entire geographic area of ??the municipality, the region and the country, so that each one of us is equally important in this surveillance and in this fight", concludes the mayor.

Also known as the Asian wasp, the velutina wasp is an Asian species characteristic of tropical and subtropical regions from northern India to eastern China, Indochina and the Indonesian archipelago, and its existence has been reported since 2011 in the northern region of Portugal.

Velutina is distinguished from the European species wasp crabro by the colour of its abdomen, which is predominantly black, unlike the European, where yellow prevails.

The Institute for the Conservation of Nature and Forests has warned of the effects of the presence of this non-indigenous species, especially in apiculture, as it is a carnivorous and predatory species of bees.

The Asian wasp is also a threat to public health, reacting very aggressively when its nests are threatened, "including pursuits up to a few hundred metres".