Vespawatch target beekeepers, the public and naturalists and uses them as sensors for tracking the progression of invasive Asian hornets (Vespa velutina). The data gathered by citizens are used to inform management and to perform research on the invasion of this insect. Anyone can report opportunistic observations of hornets through the web portal without registration. Data are then synced with iNaturalist and peer validated by the community. After validation, hornet nests are pushed to the management module, to which hornet managers can subscribe. Management actions are reported in the same system. All observations are openly published on the Global Biodiversity Information Facility. Learning outcomes include an increased awareness on invasive species and ecosystem services provided by native pollinating insects as well as a general increased appreciation for the diversity wasps and insects. More specifically, people learn to identify the different species of hornet and wasp in the region. Additionally, the project actively engages participants in citizen science activities such as ivy bvioblitzes which aim to locate hornet nests. A first project report is available at doi.org/10.21436/inbor.19019045.
Vespawatch targets beekeepers and the public for monitoring the invasion of the invasive Asian hornet. The first Asian hornet appeared in Belgium in 2011. Since then the species has expanded rapidly. This wasp comes from China and is a threat to honeybees and native pollinators. It is considered an invasive alien species and must be managed under the EU invasive species Regulation. The population is managed by exterminating nests. Surveillance requires many eyes on the lookout.
How to participate
Everyone can help track the Asian hornet invasion. Here’s a list of things you can do to get involved: Learn to recognize Asian hornet Report observations of hornets and nests Help us verify records Register as a professional eradicator Actively search for hornet nests https://vespawatch.be/get-involved/
No specific equipment required.