NewsIf you kill these insects, you face a fine...

If you kill these insects, you face a fine and imprisonment

Many insects are strictly protected – so strictly that there is even a risk of imprisonment if the animals are injured or killed. The penalties differ depending on the state.

Everyone knows it – sitting comfortably on the balcony or terrace in summer, having breakfast or enjoying a beer after work means pure relaxation for many Germans. But then: a buzz, a buzz, a buzz. Insects of all kinds cavort around the richly laid table. In many cases this leads to the fact that one no longer feels comfortable and a trap is set up to get rid of the annoying guests during the meal. But that can be quite expensive if you kill insects that are under nature protection, reports *. Depending on the federal state, a fine of up to 50,000 euros is due. But for which animals does the penalty apply, and where is it really expensive?

First of all, the good news: mosquitoes can always be killed without worrying about possible penalties. Mosquitoes are not protected in this country. The Asian tiger mosquito, which is considered the most dangerous animal in the world and has now also been detected in Heilbronn *, may be killed. Authorities even give tips on how to control the Asian tiger mosquito *. On the other hand, you should leave other supposed pests alone if you don’t want to pay an expensive fine.

Bees, butterflies, beetles: these insects are specially protected – there is a risk of a fine

The most prominent example here is the bee. It is considered an important animal in our ecosystem. According to Robin Moritz, President of the European Society for Bee Research , around two-thirds of the world’s food would disappear if the bee died out. In addition to producing honey, the hymenoptera also pollinates plants so that they can produce fruits. Without bees, there would simply be no tomatoes, fruit and almonds.

But the number of bees in Germany is already falling. According to, the German Beekeeping Association estimates that the number of bee colonies has almost halved since 1952 – from 2.5 million to just 1.4 million. However, since the Federal Species Protection Ordinance names the bees as a “specially protected species”, neither honey nor wild bees may be caught, damaged or killed in nature.

Protected insects: catching, injuring or killing can be expensive

If you do that and get caught, you have to pay a fine of up to 65,000 euros, depending on the state. Under certain circumstances, killing bees is even a criminal offense. If the bee species is particularly protected, deliberate killing can even result in a prison sentence of up to five years in the worst case.

  • Up to 65,000 euros : Brandenburg
  • Up to 50,000 euros : Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria, Berlin, Bremen, Hamburg, Hesse, Lower Saxony, North Rhine-Westphalia, Saxony, Saxony, Saxony, Schleswig-Holstein, Thuringia
  • Up to 20,000 euros : Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania
  • Up to 10,000 euros : Saarland
  • Up to 5,000 euros : Rhineland-Palatinate

However, the same applies to endangered insect species such as hornets. But while these are often viewed as threatening, they are actually quite useful – and not as dangerous as you might think. Hornets are considered to be less aggressive than wasps, for example, and their venom has been proven to be no more dangerous than that of a smaller species of wasp. Aside from the horrific punishment, hornets shouldn’t be killed because they kill loads of pests such as caterpillars, grasshoppers and flies.

Bees, butterflies, beetles: Destroying nests is also prohibited – what to do?

But also less endangered wasp species and bumblebees must not be killed. Here the fine is much lower than for hornets or bees – but in some federal states it is in the double-digit thousands. In addition, the following applies to all of the insects mentioned so far: not only killing individual specimens is punishable, but especially the destruction or unauthorized removal of their nests can have severe consequences according to the Federal Nature Conservation Act (BNatSchG). The local nature conservation authority should always be contacted here. Hornet, wasp or bee nests are usually removed by the fire brigade, beekeepers or pest controllers.

But not only conspicuous insects such as bees or wasps are under nature protection and must therefore not be killed – many butterflies and beetles are also considered “strictly protected” or “specially protected”. You often don’t have rose beetles, rhinoceros beetles, gold beetles, longhorn beetles or sand runners on your screen. All of these species are threatened and must not be killed, and their larvae are also protected. Things look different with May and June beetles, for example. They and their grubs may always be fought. * is an offer from IPPEN.MEDIA.

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