It is not the first time (nor will it be the last) that an animal species is introduced into an ecosystem where it does not belong and ends up evaporating others that were part of the place. This is what seems to be happening with the Asian wasp, a variety of these pollinating insects that is making its way through the old continent.
Let’s get to know in depth what is the problem with these visitors, what are the effects of Asian hornet stings and what they look like compared to other species.
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What is the Asian wasp?
It is a kind of invasive wasp from Asia that, since approximately 2004, landed in the south-west of France inside the merchandise that arrived from China by sea. Since then, the expansion of the vespavelutina began (as its name says in Latin) throughout the European continent, settling in the northern part of the Iberian Peninsula, specifically those closest to the coast, where it has settled after managing to cross the Pyrenean strip.
However, as its name indicates, originally this variety of black wasp is distributed throughout the Asian geography, especially in lands with temperate temperatures., a factor that would have favored his acclimatization to the conditions he has found in Europe, his new home.
What has raised alarm about the arrival of this new winged host is its rapid spread, encouraged by the lack of natural predators . In addition, it seems that the Asian hornet has developed a special predilection for areas where the climate is milder, which has made it decide to establish its nests near where urbanized areas are located.
The danger that the Asian hornet poses to the environment
It has received the nickname of “killer wasp”, because its main source of food is made up of flies, ants and butterflies; but also native wasps, bees and other pollinating insects.
Precisely for this,the presence of the Asian hornet wreaks havoc on the bee population . When they feel that they are being attacked, they tend to take refuge in the hive and stop going out to collect nectar. Not content with this, after besieging the nest little by little, the Asian wasps end up infiltrating the hives, killing larvae and workers alike, to use them as food for their offspring and thus provoke the terrified flight of the survivors.
It is believed that if the Asian hornet continues the same rate of spread that it has had in just 14 years, it could seriously threaten the biodiversity of the ecosystems in which it now lives.Because by reducing the number of bees, one of the most important means of pollinating plants would be lost, something that would have severe environmental consequences.
What are the effects of the sting of the Asian hornet
Unlike other wasp species, the vespa velutina defends itself in swarms of up to 15 members, especially if it feels that the nest is threatened. Direct contact with people has caused the number of cases of death due to massive stings to increase due to the location of the colonies, as we mentioned, close to residential areas.
Effects of the sting on non-allergic people
In the event of an Asian hornet attack,the symptoms that usually appear are similar to those of the bite of other homologues :
- Localized pain around the sting
- Burning sensation on the skin
- Redness and swelling of the skin as a reaction to the entrance of the poison
However, the difference is that the sting of the velutina inoculates a greater amount of poison than that of its congeners. Likewise, the intensity of these manifestations will decrease with the passing of days and will not be the same due to the immunological capacity of each person.
Effects of the sting on allergic people
It is estimated that about 1% of the population is allergic to wasp stings. Although the risk of an Asian wasp stinging is no greater than that of any other species, the dangers involved will be the same, so you will have to be very careful in case you are near a nest or see one hovering nearby.
These are some of the signs that appear after the vespa vetulina peck:
- Increased temperature (fever in many cases)
- Tingling throughout the body
- Limb numbness
- Inflammation of the tongue and throat
- Decrease in blood pressure
Even with all this, we insist that the Asian hornet is not more aggressive and, therefore, has no more options to sting us than if it were another hymenoptera.
If a single Asian wasp sting occurs, there is no reason to fear if the person is not allergic, since applying ice to the area will attenuate its effects while we go to a medical center where you can receive the necessary antidote.
The danger occurs in the case of multiple stings, since this can lead to anaphylactic shock , a generalized malfunction of the main body systems characterized by:
- excessive sweating
- Dizziness with loss of balance
- Sensation of itching in the skin with possible appearance of hives
- Chest tightness
- labored breathing
- Nausea, punctures and vomiting or diarrhea
This compendium of effects of the sting of the Asian hornet occurs due to greater vasodilation of the veins and arteries, together with a decrease in the irrigation of the main organs. The result can be the subject’s death if any action is delayed too long . However, the prognosis will be better the longer the first reactions appear.
Other species similar to the Asian wasp The Asian wasp
should not be confused with other classes of the same family, so it is important to focus on the basic differences to know how to distinguish them and thus avoid mistakenly eliminating the wrong individual.
1. European hornet (Vespa crabro)
The species that has more similarities with the Asian wasp and that can lead to confusion. While the autochthonous buzzer is of a longer size (from 2.5 cm to 3.5 cm) and not so stocky (a maximum of 3 cm is what the Vespa velutina aspires to); In addition, the yellow rings on her abdomen and the reddish color of her torso give her away .
In addition, the Asian hornet has the tips of its legs yellow and its thorax is dark in color to black, a hue that extends to the ocher of its translucent wings. On the other hand, the velutina has a single orange-brown ring on the abdomen .
2. Common wasp (Vespa vulgaris)
Much smaller in size (maximum 1.5 cm),the common wasp has more presence of yellow on its body , which is combined with a black torso and rings.
3. Bee (apis mellifera)
Similar to the worker wasp, the bee’s torso is hairier, and its color is brownish and not the same intense yellow as the common wasp.
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