Asian predatory hornets that started invading France over a decade ago must now be wary of drones – UAVs, that is.

Accidentally introduced in France in 2004 in a shipment of pottery from China, Vespa velutina feeds, among other things, off domestic bees (apis mellifera) it attacks as they leave the hives, thus decimating the colonies. So far, Asian hornets have infested at least one-third of the French territory.

Vespa velutina nests are often located in tree tops, making it difficult and even dangerous to neutralize them with traditional means such as poles or ladders.

However, a response may be on the way. LGF, a company located in the Landes, in Aquitaine-Limousin-Poitou-Charentes, has developed the Hornet Spray, a quadcopter that it says can destroy Asian Hornet nests by injecting a biocide in nests.

Developed on a DJI platform, the Spray Hornet has a range of 9 to 18 minutes depending on whether it is equipped with one or two batteries. Equipped with a parachute for regulatory reasons, this 3.1 kg drone carries an aerosol that is controlled by a servo-winch.

Using the Spray Hornet, it can take as little as ten minutes to neutralize a nest, compared to an hour with conventional means, which are much more hazardous.

Even if drones are not expected to eradicate the Asian wasp, which is particularly well established in the southwestern part of France, it is estimated they could reduce the population by a third.

Luis Robert | Analyst - Arsha Consulting

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