Commonly known as the Asian wasp, velutina wasp, or simply velutinas, the Vespa velutina species is one of the most feared invasive exotic insect species in Europe. This giant wasp has invaded many urban areas and coastal strips in countries with Atlantic and humid climates, where rains are frequent and temperatures are mild. This invasion has caused more and more people to suffer the consequences of the sting of Asian wasps, which are sometimes lethal.
How is the Asian wasp
Would you know how to differentiate the Asian wasp from other wasps ? In this section we will see many of the main characteristics of the Asian wasp ( Vespa velutina ), which has been invading different European countries for more than a decade. Take note, then, on how to recognize an Asian wasp according to its characteristics:
- The size of the Asian wasp is much larger than that of other wasps, since they are about 30 -35 mm in size, that is, between 3 cm and 3.5 cm , while common wasps reach a maximum of 20 mm and bees about 15 mm.
- Its head is black or very dark brown, with orange colors on the front, as well as a velvety blackish-brown thorax and a thin yellow line on the first segment of the abdomen. The end of the legs is yellow, as well as the fourth segment of the abdomen. The wings are brown with a smoky appearance.
- They can be very aggressive, since they always attack in groups when they feel threatened and detect some danger near their nests.
- They are capable of capturing up to 25-50 bees daily, thus destroying hives and large colonies of bees, causing devastating problems in the beekeeping and agricultural sectors.
If you like this type of animal, we recommend these other articles on the Difference between bee, wasp and bumblebee and the classification of insects .
Asian wasps usually build their nests in the treetops. However, when they are in places outside their natural region and act as invasive alien species, they can build them in other places such as at ground level and on other surfaces such as car tires, roofs and even in holes in the streets. walls.
The nests of the Vespa velutina are large , reaching 0.8 meters in diameter and 1 meter in height. They are made with pulp or cellulose and have an air chamber inside, generally having a spherical shape although sometimes they are pear-shaped. The nests are always protected by Asian wasps, which become very aggressive when feeling any type of threat (voluntary or involuntary) near their nests.
The venom injected by the Asian wasp with its sting is fatal only in people allergic to wasp stings, bees and other insects (which represent 3% of the Spanish population), as well as in elderly people or those who have other pathologies and suffer an attack from multiple Asian warnings.
Thus, the bite of the Vespa velutina can cause anaphylactic shock in these people who are prone to react seriously. During this shock, the blood and oxygen do not reach the tissues or organs well, so that the heart can stop or even prevent breathing in the person who suffers the attack of the wasp, due to the inflammation of the larynx. Only in these cases, the sting of the Asian hornet can be fatal.
In the other cases, people will simply suffer the effects of the sting in a longer way, with swelling, itching, discomfort and pain that is somewhat more acute compared to the sting of other wasps.
As we have seen in the previous section, people with an allergy to wasps and bees stings, as well as people of advanced age or with other pathologies would suffer the most serious effects of the Asian wasp sting, which could even be lethal. In these cases, people should be quickly taken to the hospital to receive medical assistance and the application of corticosteroids , since the accumulation of venom from these wasps can be lethal for them.
On the contrary, if the person who suffers the sting does not fall within the cases mentioned above, simply apply plenty of water to clean and disinfect (sometimes even submerging in water is necessary to avoid the attack of more wasps, since they usually attack in groups following the trail of pheromones that they inject along with the poison). The application of cold will also be effective in calming pain and reducing inflammation in the area of the bite. However, in no case should other home remedies such as pimples be applied, as they could cause infection in the area of the bite.
Are there repellants for the Asian wasp? This is one of the first questions that we will most likely ask ourselves if we see Asian wasps around. But, sadly, the answer is that there are no effective repellants against Asian wasps. However, as we saw at the beginning of the article, these invasive wasps only tend to attack when they feel threatened , so it is more effective to make a trap for the Asian wasp , to avoid that they get to bite us.
One of the most prominent homemade traps consists of placing buckets, carafes or bottles with some sweet substance of liquid consistency at the bottom, preferably honey or sugar, or even mixtures of bread yeast, glucose and water. Along with the sweet liquid a little alcohol is added to prevent the bees from also coming. This homemade trap for the Asian wasp should be placed close to their nests or in crops where the presence of it has been observed, as long as they are in a place where they can attack someone, for example, on the wall of a house .
On the other hand, it is important to remember that in nature there are several species that act as predators of the Asian wasp , such as the honey buzzard, the bee-eater and the badger ; which help control Asian hornet pests.