The Ministry of Agriculture has assured that the plan for surveillance and control of the Asian hornet (wasp) in Portugal “is effective,” adding that by June more than 5,600 nests had been destroyed, as many as the total in 2018.
In statements to radio station TSF, the Minister of Agriculture, Capoulas Santos, said that in the first six months of this year 5,645 nests were destroyed, which means that “in the last three years, 14 thousand nests have been destroyed”.
The Action Plan for the surveillance and control of vespa velutina (Asian hornet) in Portugal adopted by the Government in January 2018 and strengthened in early 2019, “is effective”.
In addition to the plan, the Ministry recalls that a manual of good practices has been adopted “which must be scrupulously respected, taking into account the high capacity for dispersion and dissemination of this species, as well as the danger it may represent.
“It is a species that, if it feels threatened, attacks in swarms, and can carry out persecutions over hundreds of metres, producing multiple bites”.
Among the measures adopted is the SOS Vespa Platform of the Institute for Nature and Forest Conservation (ICNF), created in 2015, but which is currently under maintenance.
On this electronic platform, sightings of Asian hornets and their nests are recorded, as well as the state of the nests (destroyed or active).
The information collected is forwarded to local councils which are in charge of destroying the nests.
In 2019, the Government provided €1.4 million to
support councils in the destruction of nests, a sum for which 137 councils have applied.
As part of the implementation of the plan for the control and surveillance of vespa velutina in Portugal there is a specific training programme that has already reached over a thousand trainees.
Since its detection in Portugal, the progression of the Asian hornet has been recorded from north to south and from the coast to the interior.
The Asian hornet is a predator of bees, so it has a direct impact on beekeeping production, requiring permanent monitoring of hives by beekeepers, especially in places where the presence of vespa velutina is detected.