Daily and Seasonal Extranidal Behaviour Variations in the Invasive Yellow-Legged Hornet, Vespa velutina Lepeletier (Hymenoptera: Vespidae)


In eusocial insect species, the nest represents the fundamental element of the colony. Extranidal activities (foraging, nest maintenance, defence) are fundamental for the development and the survival of the colony. Therefore, they may represent interesting targets to disrupt to limit their expansion in case of pest species such as Vespa velutina, an alien predator of domestic honeybees in Europe. An accurate knowledge of the pattern of activity of this pest’s colonies is therefore required. Due to the highly defensive nature of this hornet, a video monitoring was realized on two colonies during their growth from August to November. Three major behaviours were monitored: nest maintenance, patrolling on the nest and foraging flights. Although of different size and monitored during different years, the two colonies exhibited similar patterns of daily and seasonal variation. This work is a first step in the study of this pest especially in view of control program.