Predation of the invasive Asian hornet affects foraging activity and survival probability of honey bees in Western Europe

Fabrice Requier*, Quentin Rome, Guillaume Chiron, Damien Decante, Solene Raymonde Huguette Marion, Michel Menard, Franck Muller, Claire Villemant, Mickael Henry

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


Introduced in France more than a decade ago from China, the invasive Asian hornet Vespa velutina preys on honey bee Apis mellifera foragers at hive entrances and is a major concern for Western European beekeepers and governmental policies. Asian hornet predation is suspected to weaken honey bee colonies before the winter season. In this study, we assessed the risk of winter colony losses related to hornet-induced disturbances by combining field observations and model system simulations. We provide empirical evidence in bee foragers’ homing failures and bee foraging paralysis behaviour of the colony related to the predator–prey relationships between the hornet and the honey bees nearby colonies’ entrances. Our model-based assessment confirms concerns of beekeepers and governmental policies that these hornet-induced disturbances affect honey bee colony dynamics and winter survival. Simulations reveal that the foraging paralysis behavioural response of honey bee colonies is an important mechanism underlying winter colony collapse. We provide recommendations of beekeeping management to mitigate potential detrimental effects from hornets to ensure bee colony survival, such as the control of the hornet-induced foraging paralysis of Western European honey bee colonies that may be viewed as an unadapted behavioural response to the invasive predator.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)567-578
JournalJournal of Pest Science
Issue number2
Early online date21 Nov 2018
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2019


  • Alien species
  • Biological invasion
  • Honey bee colony collapse
  • Mechanistic modelling
  • Predator-prey relationship
  • Yellow-legged hornet


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