The traps from the RTI Research Center will help in monitoring the Asian hornet

Cooperation Press Release Science

The invasive Asian hornet first appeared in the Czech Republic in October of last year in Pilsen. The RTI Research Center at the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering of the University of West Bohemia, which was visited by Minister Petr Hladík, has been involved in the development of special traps.
The Asian hornet poses a significant risk not only to beekeeping but also to wild insect species, as it feeds on them. Key is the monitoring of areas where hornets have already appeared and the elimination of their potential nests. Therefore, special traps were installed today in Pilsen to detect any potential occurrences of hornets in time.

"We don't want to leave anything to chance, so we focus on prevention. The Asian hornet represents a danger for beekeepers and nature alike. We must do everything to prevent its establishment here. For example, in France, they initially underestimated the situation, and now considerable damage is being done there and spreading further. The hornet knows no borders. Therefore, we are trying to involve various institutions, beekeepers, and the public in monitoring, and I thank them for information about its possible occurrence," says Minister of the Environment Petr Hladík (KDU-ČSL), who installed traps for monitoring hornets in Pilsen today and mentioned, among other things, that the Ministry of the Environment, in cooperation with experts, has a Plan for the Eradication of the Asian Hornet, which is currently being updated with experience from its occurrence this year. The final version will be ready in about a month; however, the proposed plan also includes procedures for cooperation with the Fire Rescue Service, beekeepers, and others, which can already be applied in the event of finding an Asian hornet.

"The first Asian hornets appeared precisely in Pilsen, so we offered to participate in the development of suitable traps. We propose and test suitable bio materials, sizes of entry and exit holes, surfaces, and colors. The traps are printed on a 3D printer and are now also manufactured by injection molding into 3D printed molds in our research center. It is crucial that as few other insect species as possible end up in the traps. With proper use, they should be a suitable tool to indicate whether Asian hornets are present in the vicinity," explains Jan Řehoř, director of the RTI Research Center at the University of West Bohemia.

"However, traps are not the only activity we will be dealing with in monitoring the Asian hornet this year. It is necessary to involve as many citizens as possible in its monitoring, teach them to recognize the hornet, and report it properly. As the West Bohemian Museum in Pilsen, we will also participate in activities related to its occurrence this year," adds Jan Walter from the West Bohemian Museum in Pilsen.

Traps serve as a complement to direct observation. In cooperation with professional institutions or beekeepers, they will be installed primarily in places where hornets have already appeared. It is possible that some queens managed to fly out unnoticed in the autumn, overwinter, and in the spring will venture out to establish new colonies.

"People can report suspicions of the presence of the Asian hornet best with a photograph to our email or through the Nahlaš sršeň (Report a Hornet) application. Reports, of which we have already received eight hundred, are subsequently verified. It still holds that direct observation is the main helper in finding individuals. This is how we learned about all the previous findings," says Tomáš Görner from the Czech Environmental Protection Agency, which coordinates the monitoring of the Asian hornet.

The trap consists of an entrance hole approximately 8 mm in diameter and side holes in the wall approximately 6 mm in size. The hornet flies into the trap through the entrance but, due to its size, cannot escape back out. Other insects will also fly into the trap, but smaller holes should allow them to exit. However, this may not always be successful, so the traps need to be checked.



Andrea Čandová

28. 03. 2024