Nuno Sinde and Pedro Fernández, secondary students at SEK International School Atlántico, have won first prize at Exporecerca, the most important science fair for new researchers in Spain, thanks to his project on the fight against the Asian hornet.
The work of the two SEK-Atlántico students has its origin in the search for “a natural agent to control the invasion of this species, which since 2005 has been a big problem for beehives. The natural controller used by these students is a fungus, Cordyceps militaris, which, as they were able to verify, can enter the wasps’ nests and feed on the chitins of their larvae, reducing their population and avoiding the use of chemical insecticides”, as described in the story published by La Voz de Galicia.
The young scientists have proposed using their natural controller throughout the French southwest, northern Spain and Portugal, especially in humid areas, where the Asian hornet has made its home thanks to a perfect adaptation to the Atlantic climate.
“Until now, the various methods to combat this pest have not been very effective, since it advances several kilometres every year. In this sense, we are using homemade traps with very good results”, stated the creators of the project.
This research already led them, last year, to win the first prize at the Galiciencia 2019 fair (where it was selected as the best project by the forty members that made up the panel), which then launched them to Exporecerca in Barcelona. The next step on this trip will be California, where Sinde and Fernández will attend the ICEF congress next May.