Lisbon, 03 Sep 2019 (Lusa) – The presence of the Asian wasp in Portugal prompted 508 complaints from citizens this year, mostly located in the Porto district (133), with an increase in sightings since 2017, according to Republican National Guard (GNR).

Scientifically named velutina wasp, the Asian wasp recorded the first sighting in Portugal in 2011, in the district of Viana do Castelo, and “since then it has been moving to the south of the country, and Lisbon, until now, It is the southernmost district where there is the presence of the velutine wasp, ”said Ricardo Vaz Alves of the GNR’s Service for Nature and Environment Protection (SEPNA).

“From 2017 to the present year, we have seen an increase in the number of complaints,” said Ricardo Vaz Alves, speaking to Lusa, indicating that in 2017 there were 499 sightings, which increased to 708 in 2018 and that , this year, until August 25, adds 508 situations related to the presence of Asian wasp.

In terms of location, the districts with the most complaints throughout this year were Porto (133), Braga (92), Viseu (60), Aveiro (53) and Coimbra (50).

According to the head of SEPNA, the Asian wasp adapts to the spaces offered to pollinate and also to nest, so “there is no distinction between rural and urban spaces” in the distribution and expansion of this pest in national territory. .

However, the Asian wasp preferentially chooses places with less disturbance, which explains “the rural spaces are more attractive for their installation”.

Through the SOS Environment and Territory line – 808 200 520, GNR is recording the number of complaints, “which are often with sightings,” said Ricardo Vaz Alves, warning that this does not mean that the presence of the Asian wasp is confirmed, “But anyway, there is a record, or at least it is a notion that the citizen has that there is the presence of velutine wasps.”

In 2018, the action plan for the surveillance and control of wasp velutine was implemented in Portugal, aimed at the prevention, surveillance and control of these animals throughout the national territory, with a view to the safety of citizens, the protection of agricultural activity and the beekeeping, as well as minimizing impacts on biodiversity.

Regarding the action plan, GNR, through SEPNA, has participated in surveillance, control and destruction actions, as well as training and dissemination actions, as well as handling and forwarding all complaints received through the SOS Environment and Territory.

In this context, Ricardo Vaz Alves appealed to citizens to avoid destroying the nests, “since if the destruction is not 100% of the nest, the wasp will nest elsewhere, and the problem persists, so the destruction must only by the authorities, in this case municipal civil protection services ”.

GNR has no data on the accounting for damage and damage caused by the presence of the Asian wasp, nor the number of victims.

“There are more and more cases in which reports of the wasp threaten the citizen, but we are unable to do this directly,” said the SEPNA official, explaining that “the wasp itself does not attack people, it has to feel a threat ”, which presupposes a distance of up to five meters.

According to Ricardo Vaz Alves, “whenever [the wasps] feel threatened in their territory they attack and attack in large numbers, not just in isolation”, however “the sting itself is not a danger”, I hope for people who are allergic to the bite.

All information collected on the evolution of velutine wasp in national territory is centralized in the database managed by the Institute for Nature and Forest Conservation (ICNF), accessible through the SOS Vespa platform ( web).