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LIFE STOPVESPA has developed a management strategy for V. velutina that has contained the expansion of this invasive alien species in Italy, thanks to the detection and destruction of more than 2,200 colonies. In particular:
1) Two harmonic radar prototypes have been developed and used in different areas of Liguria and Piedmont, and several V. velutina nests have been detected in the outbreaks of Finale Ligure and La Spezia (Liguria). The harmonic radar allows tracking the flight of tagged hornets and locating the position of their nests.
2) A monitoring network of 1,700 stations was established thanks to the involvement of beekeepers, their Associations and other citizens. This monitoring network allows a rapid detection of V. velutina in Liguria and Piedmont.
3) An Early Warning and Rapid Response System has been developed, with the collaboration of Civil Defence teams and project partners. To ensure the maintenance of this strategy even after the conclusion of the LIFE STOPVESPA project, four training courses attended by 80 people were carried out.
4) The timely removal of V. velutina nests prevented the development of thousands of hornets, thus saving over 76 million of honey bees and other native insects from the predation of V. velutina workers.
5) Monitoring of honey bee colonies and native insect communities (wild bees, butterflies, wasps and hornets) highlighted the negative impacts generated by V. velutina on native species.
Further details on these topics are available in the final report of the project for the public --> Layman's Report
Spatial distribution of the monitoring network in Liguria and Piedmont regions.
First prototype of harmonic radar used to track the flight of tagged hornets.
Vespa velutina with a tag that allows the harmonic radar to track its flight to the nest.