Vespa velutina

Biocontrol of the Asian Hornet

Common name: Asian hornet
Scientific name: Vespa velutina
Order: Hymenoptera
Main season: All year round

Prays citri

General information

Vespa velutina nigritorax is an invasive exotic species (R. D. 630/2013) and native of South-East Asia. It was detected for the first time in Spain, in 2010 in Baztán (Navarra) and in Legazpi, Irún, Hondarribia, Oiartzun, Pasaia, Lasarte-Oria and Aduna (Guipúzcoa). Since then, it has extended and has been detected in Garrotxa and L’Alt Emporda (Cataluña), Otañes and Guriezo (Cantabria), Asturias, Galicia, La Rioja and Burgos.

Vespa velutina

Biology, ecology and habitat

The Asian hornet is easy to recognise, as it is the only hornet in Europe to have such a dark colour. The V. velutina nigrithorax variety has an entirely velvety dark brown or black thorax and chestnut-brown abdominal segments with yellow stripes. Only the 4th abdominal segment is almost entirely a yellow-orange colour. The head is black, the face is yellow-orange and the legs are brown at the end.

Vespa velutina 2

Vespa velutina

Vespa velutina dorsal y ventral

Vespa velutina: nigrithorax: back view (left) and front view (right)

Photo: © Didier Descouens

The Asian hornet is slightly smaller than the native species Vespa crabro, whose workers measure between 18 - 23 mm and the queens between 25 - 35 mm. Vespa velutina nigrithorax measures between 17 - 32 mm long.

Vespa crabro

Vespa crabro

This species usually builds its nests on the tops of trees and sometimes in undisturbed and protected areas in buildings (stairs, abandoned barns, chicken coops or parts of buildings, etc.) or in bushes and the nests are very rarely buried in the ground.

Vespa velutina wasps nets

Vespa velutina wasps nests

Vespa velutina larvae

Vespa velutina larvae inside a destroyed nest

Vespa velutina on alert a nest

Vespa velutina on alert on a nest

Life cycle and economic effect

The queens that have mated during the previous season emerge from hibernation between February and March. Each queen creates a new colony and begins building the primary nest where they lay their eggs. Twenty workers hatch from the eggs between April and May. The colony moves to another tree and builds a secondary wasp’s nest from May or June. From this nest, new workers emerge (up to 1000 or 1500) and at the end of summer, the females (100-300) and males leave the nest. The fertilised females disperse from the end of August until October. At the end of October and November, the colony stops its activity and the queen dies.

The Vespa velutina nigrithorax adults feed on nectar and ripe fruit, whilst the larvae prefer feeding on honey bees and other insects that are taken to the nest by the workers.

Swarm of bees

Over a period of two or three months the workers hunt insects, including bees, 80% are in urban areas and 50% are in rural areas. This can be an additional stress factor for honey bees, adding to the current problem of the decrease in pollinators.


Bees in hive

The ECONEX solution for the biocontrol of the Asian hornet is highly effective, as can be seen in this video, in which specimens of the Asian hornet Vespa velutina are caught and observed in a VELUTINATRAP® trap baited with the natural liquid attractant VELUTINATRAP® ATTRACTANT.

Necessary material

A VELUTINATRAP® trap and a bottle of the attractant VELUTINATRAP® ATTRACTANT.


(Code: UIPFETA258)

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VelutinaTrap kit and attractant

(Code: UIPHOVA390)

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VELUTINATRAP® KIT. Kit made up of 2 VELUTINATRAP® traps and 2 bottles of the natural liquid attractant VELUTINATRAP® ATTRACTANT.

VelutinaTrap kit and attractant

VELUTINATRAP® KIT. Kit made up of 2 VELUTINATRAP® traps and 2 bottles of the natural liquid attractant VELUTINATRAP® ATTRACTANT.
(Code: UIPHOVA391)

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The VELUTINATRAP® is a trap that has a large capacity, is very weather resistant and long-lasting in the field. It consists of a transparent base with a large capacity, a yellow funnel with a green cap to prevent rainwater from entering and a yellow strainer to separate the hornets captured by the VELUTINATRAP® ATTRACTANT (not included).

Parts of VelutinaTrap


The VELUTINATRAP® ATTRACTANT is a natural liquid attractant used for attracting the Asian hornet Vespa velutina, cwith a duration of 60 days in normal field conditions. It comes in bottles of 190 ml.


  • Pour the contents of a bottle of VELUTINATRAP® ATTRACTANT (190 ml) into the base of the trap.
  • Assemble the trap following the instructions.
  • Hang the trap in a suitable location, usually on trees on the edges of forests and close to grasslands, rivers or lakes.
  • Check the trap regularly. Change the attractant every 60 days or if the trap is full of water.


    Trap assembly Velutina Trap


    Corrugated cardboard box of 35 KITS.
    Box size: 0,60 x 0,80 x 0,48 m (length x width x height).
    Box weight: 9,4 kg.
    No. of boxes per pallet: 8
    Pallet size: 0,80 x 1,20 x 1,90 m (length x width x height).
    Pallet weight: 75.2 kg.

    Box of 10 KITS  Velutinatrap

    Box of 35 KITS.


    Corrugated cardboard box of 16 KITS.
    Box size: 0,32 x 0,24 x 0,22 m (length x width x height).
    Box weight: 5,10 kg.
    No. of boxes per pallet: 45
    Pallet size: 0,80 x 1,20 x 1,24 m (length x width x height).
    Pallet weight: 220 kg.

    Box of 10 KITS  Velutinatrap

    Box of 16 KITS.

    VELUTINATRAP® KIT packaging

    Corrugated cardboard box of 10 KITS.
    Box size: 0.80 x 0.60 x 0.48 m (length x width x height).
    Box weight: 9.40 kg.
    No. of boxes per pallet: 8
    Pallet size: 1.20 x 0.80 x 1.90 m (length x width x height).
    Pallet weight: 75.2 kg.

    Box of 10 KITS  Velutinatrap

    Box of 10 KITS.

    Recommended information:


    The leaflet can be downloaded in PDF format by clicking on the image.



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