Call out for help as European wasp numbers soar

Published on 24 April 2019

Following a spike in nest numbers, we are calling on City of Swan residents and businesses to join efforts against the European wasp.

The European wasp is considered one of the world’s most aggressive wasp species. Unlike a bee, they sting repeatedly. Their nests can grow as big as a basketball, or larger, housing thousands of wasps.

European wasps are an agricultural and environmental pest. They feed on soft fruits, rob beehives and prey on bees, insects and small animals.

The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development reports that nest numbers are at their highest in 15 years. So far this season, 127 nests have been located across Perth.

The Department has allocated more staff and resources to carry out surveillance and locate every nest before the season draws to a close at the end of June.

We are also requesting the community’s help to look, report and assist with the location of nests.

This declared pest makes it way each year into WA from the eastern states, where it is well established. Over the past 42 years, the Department’s European wasp surveillance and eradication program has been able to locate and destroy most nests each year – keeping this pest from becoming permanently established in WA.

The European wasp has distinctive characteristics that make it easy to tell it apart from other insects. Most notably, they are drawn to pet and human food. They are commonly spotted in lunchrooms and picnic areas. You can also look for black antennae and shorter legs that lift during flight. Most of their nests are underground, so you may see them flying in and out of a hole in the ground.

If you find a nest, do not attempt to destroy it. This will be done by the Department free of charge.

Enquiries and reports of European wasps should be made to the Department’s Pest and Disease Information Service on 9368 3080, or via the MyPestGuideTM app or web page – mypestguide.agric.wa.gov.au, or email padis@dpird.wa.gov.au.

More information about European wasps is available on the Department’s website agric.wa.gov.au/wasps.