European wasp nest detected in City of Swan

Published on 09 January 2020

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The first European wasp nest in the City of Swan has been detected this season at Reg Bond Reserve. The season for European wasps peaks during summer and concludes in June.

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. Last year, a record 166 nests were destroyed across Perth.

As part of coordinated surveillance efforts, more than 3,000 traps have been deployed across Perth and regional areas.

The City of Swan is asking residents and businesses to do their bit to help keep the pest at bay by looking, reporting and assisting with the location of nests.

This declared pest makes its way each year into WA from the eastern states, where it is well established. Over the past 43 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 Reporter 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.