Invasive Asian hornet spotted in Geneva

The Asian hornet preys on bees. Keystone / Bob Edme

A specimen of the non-native Asian hornet has been identified in Geneva, making it the third observation within Switzerland. 

This content was published on August 4, 2020 - 11:44
SDA-Keystone/ac

An individual insect was collected for the first time in Geneva on July 28 and formally identified by specialists. This is the third observation in Switzerland of this invasive exotic insect (Vespa velutina), which represents a threat to beehives. Adults kill honeybees and feed their bodies to their young. No permanent settlement of this undesirable species has yet been confirmed in the country. 

Captured by a local resident, the approximately 3cm-long hornet was likely transported accidentally into the country. Authorities suspect it could have entered Geneva in a shipment of fruit. The Asian hornet is a native of Southeast Asia and has been spreading in Europe since its first known arrival in southwestern France in 2004, possibly via a shipment of pottery from China. Since then, it has made its presence felt in most of France.

The Geneva authorities had set up an alert system several years ago to identify the presence of the insect. Residents are asked to report any sighting to the local officials. [CORRECTION: The first version of this story named the wrong species. In Geneva there was a sighting of the Asian hornet (Vespa velutina), not the Asian giant hornet (Vespa mandarinia).]


Share this story