Along with the fall, the bugs arrived on schedule, against which we cannot really defend ourselves. But is it really an invasion or are we just feeling it?

One of the most pressing problems in the world is environmental protection, the climate crisis and sustainability. We need to pay special attention to them, so we need to prioritize them. Hence the address of our new subdivision: Zhvg.

Autumn has come and with it the insect invasion that has been unknown for a few years, but now we are forced to reckon with it, just as we are tormented by mosquitoes in summer. Almost 900 species of beetles live here, and more and more alien, invasive species are among them. There are some that just annoy us, but some that also pose a serious threat to agriculture.

The Asian marble beetle, which is now found in large numbers in big cities, made a real difference in causing tens of millions of dollars in damage to American agriculture, recalls landscape ecologist Dávid Korányi. This insect “prefers to eat like us: It loves apples, peaches and soybeans, but can also feed on up to 100 different plants. And its sting discolors the pulp of the apple and makes the fruits from which it is smoked, for example, unsold. And that is already a problem in Hungary, ”warns the employee of the ecological research center.

Asian marble beetle


The autumn bug invasion of Hungary is mainly related to the Asian marble bug that came to us from Asia via the USA. It was first found at home in 2013, explains Dávid Korányi. Thanks to the warmer climate and longer summers, this bug can develop up to two generations instead of one per year. “While the Asian gray marble bug was introduced, the changing climate is likely to play a role in the spread of its African-born relative, the green migratory bug,” he says.

The question arises how to defend against bugs. According to the expert

Prevention is most effective against insects that want to move into apartments and houses.

“Effective protection of doors and windows is very important. Let’s install a strong, tightly woven mosquito net. We can sweep away and throw away insects, but there are also many who use household insecticides to fight them, ”he lists. However, he warns everyone against squeezing or suckling the bugs. “In defense, the beetles spit out stinking secretions that we just distributed in the apartment with the air blown out by the vacuum cleaner,” he warns.

Green migration error


In agriculture, the industrial elimination of insects poses a number of risks. “The so-called broad-spectrum drugs used against them are only used for a short time, but in the meantime pose a significant threat to the environment and to other, even beneficial, insect species,” he emphasizes.

He hopes, however, that traps will be available in the US for the time being, in which pheromones are used to capture insects en masse, and that the Asian marble bug’s natural enemy, the samurai wasp, has already appeared in Europe in Hungary Specimens discovered.

And then came climate change

Insect invasion does not simply mean that humans notice the spread of insects. “The other phenomenon is that alien species appear,” says Zsolt László Garamszegi, ecologist-evolutionary biologist, head of the Institute of Ecology and Botany, who said both should be expected.

Climate change also plays a role in both areas: “A warmer climate and changing rainfall create conditions that, for example, favor the survival and / or reproduction of hip flies. And because of the longer summer, the breeding season is extended so that the mosquitoes stay active longer. This effect is felt even without alien species. Due to the more favorable climate and the development of suitable breeding grounds, certain mosquito species move to cities, habitats closer to humans and can lay eggs, for example in vases or even in small bodies of water in children’s toys, ”explains the researcher how the changed climate affects insects. why a specimen can hum in our ears even now, at the beginning of October.

However, what reaches people’s threshold is not always proportional to the extent of the problem, he points out.

At the time of the conquest there were probably a lot of mosquitos in the Carpathian Basin, but I don’t think it hurt as much as it does today.

It is difficult to see the situation realistically as we do not have long-term data and studies spanning 20-30 years at home to draw clear conclusions and trends. For some species of mosquito, there may be observations of certain trends that support theories about the effects of climate change. However, we cannot make generalizations that the number of mosquitoes has increased so drastically in all species, ”says László Garamszegi.

In addition to climate change, other human activities that affect the environment cannot be neglected. According to the expert, insect eggs are introduced through international transports such as ships or airplanes, and if warming already creates ideal living conditions for their reproduction, stable populations will develop from the introduced cases. There are 50 species of hip flies in Hungary’s Hungarian fauna, around 10 of which regularly bite humans. In addition, 3 invasive cases have occurred in the past 5-10 years. ‘In the case of an alien species, the potential danger is, on the one hand, that they are carrying a disease or pathogen. However, when they emerge in a new area, they enter the already established, stable ecosystem, the food chain, as new actors and displace indigenous ones Species.” Make the expert aware of it.

It is better to be afraid than to be afraid

Researchers do not have sufficient resources to assess concerns about the spread of insects, which is why this is becoming more common in Hungary Citizen Sciencewhen residents are asked for help with documentation, for example when they are photographed with their mobile phone and sent in when a person of a certain species is discovered.

ONE Sokk an insect in this way, too, it creates a bug map of the country with the involvement of the population. In their September announcement, they drew attention to the fact that crested invasive bugs are now completely covering many locations. Their living conditions are becoming more and more favorable here and in autumn they are looking for winter accommodation so that they can also live in their apartments and houses. Since these are new insects, researchers and biologists do not yet know much about them. Therefore, it is particularly important to collect such information on the basis of community participation.

The ELKH Ecological Research Center, Institute for Ecology and Botany, called on residents across the country to get as much information as possible about the location of the most famous invasive species, the Asian tiger mosquito. These are easy to distinguish from “smooth” mosquitoes: spots and stripes of snow-white scales on a black background line their bodies, they have white rings on their legs and a single white vertical stripe on their back.

Why is it important to keep an eye on these insects? Mosquitoes play an important role as a vector (vector) in the spread of many animal and human pathogens and therefore can pose an epidemiological threat – the Asian tiger mosquito can spread 22 types of viruses. And it’s not just invasive species: native species can also transmit pathogens that are common around the world, such as West Nile fever.

Mosquitoes and the pathogens they carry are currently not getting enough attention due to the coronavirus epidemic, although West Nile fever also claimed lives a few years ago – including in Hungary. “Instead of fear and panic, prognoses and ecological diagnoses are required. This should be a routine and then we can move on in time and not focus on clinical diagnosis and treatment when an epidemic has already broken out, ”he says.

Take a picture of a mosquito!

The Mosquito Alert app is available: download it. If you see a mosquito, take a picture with the app and send it with some details. Scientists then identify the mosquito (e.g., decide if it’s an invasive species) and report the result. But above all, they make it possible to track on a map and in a database how many new (possibly disease-spreading) mosquitoes have already appeared and where in Europe.

The project is supported by 46 institutes from 27 countries. The application is already available in 18 European countries, including Hungary. Several cases of dengue fever and even more cases of 168 West Nile fever have been reported in Europe, mainly in Mediterranean countries.

The Hungarian researchers involved in the project were One and a half degrees asked about the application and its background..

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