This discovery could save the lives of many people… but also of bees! Chinese and French scientists have pooled their research to identify the Asian hornet’s sex pheromone. Thanks to the latter, specialists hope to be able to develop a trap against this dangerous and invasive insect.
Every year in France dozens of people die from a sting from an Asian hornet (Vespa velutina nigrithorax). The latter also causes serious damage to bee colonies and biodiversity in general. Hence the importance of this discovery.
In a press release, the University of Tours, which conducted the study together with the Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden (Kunming, Chinese Academy of Sciences), discusses the team’s work:
“Scientists identified the Asian wasp sex pheromone and tested it as bait in China and France. Thus, they showed that the pheromone bait could attract many males during the species’ reproductive period (September to November) and thus keep them away from the future queens as new colonies emerge. †
These results allowed the development of a trap specifically for this invasive wasp specimen, using this sex pheromone as selective bait. “Because this is species specific, it only attracts males of the Asian hornet. The idea is to capture these males in large numbers before they can mate with future hornet queens.” reports the press release.
Good news for biodiversity as it avoids the use of lambda traps, which attract other insects such as wasps or bees.
The Queens “not being able to mate with males, or not enough, it is possible to envisage in the long term a reduction in the number of colonies of Asian hornets on the ground or less densely populated colonies (….) And if they mate with their brothers, the phenomenon of consanguinity noted by the French researchers increased, which also led to a reduction in the number of individuals.say the scientists.
A great hope for biodiversity in all its forms…