The Asian Hornet

This week there were three talks about the Asian hornet at Apimondia 2019 at Montreal, Canada.

Photo: Vespa velutina. Courtesy of The Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA). Crown Copyright - Jean Haxaire.

Photo: Vespa velutina. Courtesy of The Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA). Crown Copyright - Jean Haxaire.

Prof. Stephen Martin (Salford University, UK) talking about Asian hornet biology at the OIE (World Organisation for Animal Health) symposium at Apimondia 2019 at Montréal, Canada

Prof. Stephen Martin (Salford University, UK) talking about Asian hornet biology at the OIE (World Organisation for Animal Health) symposium at Apimondia 2019 at Montréal, Canada

Carreck Consultancy LTD Facebook Post dated September 11, 2019: https://www.facebook.com/CarreckBees/.
“Prof. Stephen Martin (Salford University, UK) talking about Asian hornet biology at the OIE (World Organisation for Animal Health) symposium at Apimondia 2019 at Montréal, Canada. There were three talks about the Asian hornet in Europe and in South Korea. Much useful discussion took place on new tracking methods and experiments aimed at better understanding the biology and spread of the pest.

This comes against the background of a new confirmed finding yesterday of a single Asian hornet near Ashford, Kent, some considerable distance from previous findings. The Defra Asian hornet page with details of all previous sightings is here: https://www.gov.uk/…/news/asian-hornet-uk-sightings-in-2018…

Further information about the Asian hornet can be found here:
http://www.nationalbeeunit.com/index.cfm?sectionid=117

Prof. Martin’s book “The Asian hornet - threats, biology and expansion” can be purchased from the IBRA website: http://www.ibrabee.org.uk/component/k2/item/3634

The book “The Asian hornet handbook” by Sarah Bunker can be purchased from Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Asian-Hornet-Handbook…/…/ref=sr_1_1?

If you think you may have seen an Asian hornet, you should visit the UK Non-Native species Secretariat website: http://www.nonnativespecies.org/alerts/index.cfm where there is an identification guide and app for your phone and information on where to report it.

Next week 9th - 15th September is the British Beekeepers Association Asian Hornet week. Further details can be found on the BBKA website: https://www.bbka.org.uk/2019-asian-hornet-week

And further information about the Asian hornet can be found here:

http://www.nonnativespecies.org/alerts/index.cfm?id=4

https://www.bbka.org.uk/pages/faqs/category/asian-hornet-faq


Invasive Asian Giant Hornets Gound on Vancouver Island

CTV News Staff / Vancouver Island September 11, 2019

While Asian giant hornet stings are rare, the large volume of venom they carry can cause localized swelling, redness, itchiness and significant pain. (BC government)

While Asian giant hornet stings are rare, the large volume of venom they carry can cause localized swelling, redness, itchiness and significant pain. (BC government)

For the first time ever, Asian giant hornets have been discovered on Vancouver Island.

The invasive species was found in the Nanaimo area in August, according to the Ministry of Agriculture, sparking concern for honeybee populations on the island.

Asian giant hornets are known to feed on honeybees and other large insects and are capable of destroying a beehive in a short time, according to the province.

The Ministry of Agriculture says it is already at work investigating how it can assist Vancouver Island beekeepers with hive surveillance and with trapping the invasive hornets in the spring.

While three Asian giant hornets were found in Nanaimo this summer, the province is unsure if more will appear next year as the large insect lies dormant during the fall and winter seasons.

Anyone who sees one of these types of hornets is asked to contact the Invasive Species Council of B.C. at 1-888-933-3722 or file a report through the government's "Report Invasives" mobile phone app found here.

According to the province, the hornets make their nests in the ground and not in trees or buildings. If people stumble upon a nest, officials recommend that they avoid it and leave the area.

While Asian giant hornet stings are rare, the large volume of venom they carry can cause localized swelling, redness, itchiness and significant pain.

If stung, the province recommends that people treat it as they would a regular bee or wasp sting by placing an ice pack or cold compress on the sting to reduce inflammation and the spread of venom. Avoid rubbing the sting as it can cause the venom to spread into surrounding tissue.

The province warns that if people are stung 10 or more times they are at a higher risk of developing toxic or allergic reactions, such as dizziness or headaches. Anyone who feels like they are developing these symptoms should seek medical attention immediately.

https://vancouverisland.ctvnews.ca/invasive-asian-giant-hornets-found-on-vancouver-island-1.4589009


Asian Hornets Attack and Brutally Kill Bees!

BBC Earth Unplugged Published August 9, 2018

European bees are defenceless against the killer Asian Hornets, and even humans need to look out.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QzeDskBHl8U

Field Tests Show How Pesticides Can Wreak Havoc on Honeybees

Los Angeles Times/Science Now   By Mira Abed     June 29, 2017

CLICK IMAGE TO VIEW VIDEO AT LA TIMES: York University Professor Amro Zayed explains how a class of pesticides known as neonicotinoids can leach into the environment, harming honeybee workers and queens. (Credit: York University)

Humans are big fans of bees. We rely on them to pollinate crops like almonds, watermelons and apples.

But bees probably aren’t big fans of humans — at least, not of our agricultural practices.

In particular, they ought to be offended by our fondness for a widely used class of pesticides called neonicotinoids (neonics, for short).

Studies in the lab have shown that some doses of neonics are outright lethal to many bees and that even sub-lethal doses can shorten a colony’s lifespan and harm its overall health. Results have been similar in small-scale field studies.

A red-belted bumblebee covered in pollen visits a chive flower in Canada. (Jeremy T. Kerr)

Still, exactly how these pesticides, which are applied to seeds before planting, would affect bees in the real world remains something of a mystery. Scientists have been locked in a fierce debate over how much — and for how long — bees encounter these pesticides in their daily lives. After all, the conditions in a field are far more complex than those in a lab.

Now, two studies published side by side in the journal Science attempt to answer this contentious question.

One of the studies was conducted in Canada. It combined large-scale field work and laboratory experiments to better understand real-world neonic exposure levels and their effects on honeybees.

The other was conducted in large fields in Hungary, Germany and the U.K. Its goal was to understand how the effects of neonics vary between countries and how exposure during the flowering season affects the long-term health of a bee colony.

The research, published Thursday, provides a lot of new information and poses still more questions. Here are some of the key takeaways:

Bees are exposed to neonicotinoids for longer than we thought

In the Canadian study, biologist Amro Zayed and his team at York University in Toronto monitored 55 honeybee colonies in 11 locations from May through September 2014, a longer time than previously measured. They found that honeybees placed near cornfields planted with neonic-coated seeds were exposed to detectable levels of neonicotinoids for three to four months.

Even some of the bees placed far away from agricultural crops were exposed for around one month as the pesticide moved through the ecosystem. (More on that in a bit).

Ecologists from the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology assess rapeseed crops planted with neonicotinoids (Centre for Ecology & Hydrology)

In the European study, a team led by Ben Woodcock and Richard Pywell from the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology in England studied bees in 33 sites, each split into areas that were treated with pesticides and areas that weren’t. They found that bees were exposed to neonics even in the untreated fields. This was particularly surprising considering that the chemicals have been restricted in Europe since 2014.

The researchers said this indicates that the pesticides remain in the environment long after a treated crop has been harvested.

Real-world doses of neonicotinoids are bad for bees

In general, both studies showed that the concentrations of neonicotinoids that bees actually encounter in fields are indeed dangerous for bees.

Woodcock’s team found that, in Hungary and the U.K., the more neonicotinoids there were in the ecosystem, the smaller the size of the honeybee colonies and the lower the fertility rate of wild bees.

Zayed and his team showed that worker honeybees died around five days sooner when exposed to neonics. That amounted to a 23% decrease in lifespan.

Exposed worker bees also displayed different behavior than unexposed bees. They tended to fly farther from the hive, as if they were lost. That symptom has been seen in previous studies.

A honeybee worker has an RFID attached to its back that allows York University researchers to monitor when it leaves and returns to the colony, as well as when it no longer is active and presumed dead. (Amro Zayed, York University)

A honeybee worker has an RFID attached to its back that allows York University researchers to monitor when it leaves and returns to the colony, as well as when it no longer is active and presumed dead. (Amro Zayed, York University)

The worker bees also were slower to recognize and remove dead or dying bees from the hive. This is important because removal keeps colonies healthy by eliminating potential sources of disease, Zayed said.

Perhaps most devastating, exposed honeybee colonies had difficulty keeping a laying queen. This can be catastrophic because if a replacement queen is not raised within three days of the previous queen’s death, no new eggs can be produced, and the colony will quickly die.

Between 70% and 80% of Zayed’s exposed colonies would have died without outside help, he said.

Neonic exposure can come from untreated plants

In both studies, neonicotinoids were found in untreated areas and plants.

Zayed’s group found that most of the contaminated pollen collected by Canadian honeybees actually was from untreated wildflowers, not from treated corn or soy.

While scientists don’t know how neonicotinoids spread in the environment, there are several plausible explanations.

Since these pesticides can dissolve in water, it is likely that dispersal occurs when neonic-contaminated water is sucked up by other plants, Zayed said.

Richard Shore and Pywell, both researchers from the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, said that water, soil and dust are all possible ways that neonics might spread.

Environment matters — and it’s really, really complicated

One of the biggest messages from the European study is that the real world is incredibly complex, said Maj Rundlöf, who studies bees at UC Davis and Lund University and was not involved in either of the new studies. The variation is so great, both within and between countries, she said, that there must be a wide variety of factors at play.

One is the particular combination of agrochemicals to which bees are exposed. Farmland may be treated with pesticides, herbicides, fungicides and more. Just as some medications can interact with others, Zayed said, agrochemicals can join forces to intensify harm to bees.

Zayed’s team analyzed the toxicity effects of the two most common combinations found in their field tests. In one case, the results were startling: When the neonicotinoid thiamethoxam was combined with the fungicide boscalid, the neonic became twice as toxic to honeybees.

An eastern bumblebee pollinates lupine flowers in Canada. (Jeremy T. Kerr)

Additionally, the Woodcock team found that neonics had different effects in different countries. The pesticides did the least damage in Germany, and the team has a number of ideas as to why.

The German bee colonies were much healthier overall, with fewer instances of disease and parasites. They also had different diets, consisting of only about 15% neonic-treated rapeseed; in Hungary and the U.K., by contrast, rapeseed accounts for 40% to 50% of the diet.

This doesn’t necessarily mean we should ban neonicotinoids

The study authors and multiple other experts said it would be premature to ban neonicotinoids.

Norman Carreck, who researches bees at the University of Sussex and did not work on the new studies, said the EU’s 2014 moratorium on neonics has led to pest problems in England. The moratorium forced farmers to use alternative pesticides, and their effects on bees are mostly unknown.

“Farmers do an important job,” Zayed said. In making a decision about neonicotinoid use, we need to find a solution that “would reduce the cost to pollinators but at the same time still allow farmers to produce an economically viable crop.”

http://www.latimes.com/science/sciencenow/la-sci-sn-bees-pesticides-neonicotinoids-20170629-htmlstory.html