Breton beekeeper celebrates as sales of green hornet traps surge
Thousands of orders have been placed, as hornets are estimated to have killed up to 15% of bees in France
The Breton inventor of an award-winning Asian hornet trap is ramping up production as international demand rises.
Three years ago, Denis Jaffré’s environmentally friendly hornet traps won the prestigious Concours Lépine. The traps catch queens in spring as they emerge from hibernation thus avoiding having to deal with nests in summer but allow other insects to escape.
They have been welcomed as a way of fighting the hornets which eat bees and other pollinating insects while not harming other wildlife. Hornets are estimated to have killed between 10% and 15% of bees in France.
Today, he employs five people in his home town of Pencran, Finistère, all working to meet thousands of orders every month from across Europe for the innovative capture tanks and cones, having recently taken on three new members of staff.
A new workshop is also being developed to keep up with demand.
He came up with the idea after his beekeeper son Yoann lost nearly all his bees to invading hornets in 2016.
"Since we developed this trap we have not lost any more bees to hornets," the beekeeper said.
Asian hornets were first seen in south-west France in 2004 and are thought to have arrived in a Chinese shipment of pottery. They have spread by around 100km a year and are now in all regions.
They can pose a risk to people where someone comes across a nest accidentally, such as when cutting a hedge. “They attack straight away and you have a lot of stings very suddenly,” Mr Jaffré said.