One of the aims of the LIFE STOPVESPA Project is the development of a new technology for the control of Vespa velutina populations: the harmonic radar, which allows tracking yellow-legged hornets and detecting their nests. Once discovered, nests are removed before new founder queens could emerge. The aim of the LIFE STOPVESPA Project is to provide an innovative technology that will be particularly useful in new invasion’s outbreaks or beyond the colonized front, in order to improve the efficiency of Vespa velutina control strategy. This is also the topic of the article published on the 17th of May 2018 on the European Commission LIFE Programme news section.
Vespa velutina is a light insect of small sizes, therefore the University and the Politecnico of Turin have developed a tiny light tag that, once fixed on the insect’s thorax, allows tracking the hornets’ flight in real time. The tag does not require batteries, since it is able to reflects the signal sent by the radar. This allows reducing the weight and the volume of the tag. On the contrary, a GPS system requires batteries and would have been too heavy for the hornets.
In 2017 several nests were detected nearby some apiaries in Liguria, Italy. The current radar prototype is now able to cover a radius of 470 m. In June the activities will start again, from the expansion area to the outbreaks, aiming to improve the detection of nests and the efficiency of the strategy.
This activity is in compliance with the EU Regulation 1143/2014, which is intended to prevent, control and manage invasive alien species, which are a serious threat for biodiversity.