The continued success of European wasp surveillance and eradication program relies on both Metropolitan and regional surveillance, strong community awareness, and participation between residents, business owners, community groups, industry and government.
Local government sections likely to have contact or involvement with the European wasp program are listed below along with suggestions in how they can assist to keep their community free of this pest.
- Environment, Bush care and Health teams: participate in our surveillance program by adopting surveillance traps and placing these in areas that do not currently have a trap. If you or any friends are associated with a conservation groups, please let us know as these groups often show an interest in protecting the environment and public amenity. Educate internal staff on the issue - circulate information to staff so they are aware of what to look for, and who to report to should they suspect a European wasp nest or receive a positive detection from the public.
- Frontline staff: please be aware of our program and the differences between paper wasps and European wasps. Your assistance in referring suspect enquiries internally or to our service is greatly appreciated.
- Media / PR / Communications staff: this program attracts regular media attention and the interest of the community. Co-promotion of this program and the Shire’s/City’s activities is always appreciated and encouraged. Any sharing of our social media posts, media releases or local community newspaper articles can help.
- Parks and gardens team / Street trees and pruning: be on the lookout! Field staff are the most likely to encounter hidden nests or note suspicious wasp activity. Our surveillance traps are often placed in street trees. If staff or contactors encounter our surveillance traps hanging in street trees, please do not disturb traps. If they are in the way of pruning activities staff should remove traps then replace when pruning is finished.
From December to May each year we deploy surveillance traps and bait them with a small cube of raw fish. The fish attracts foraging wasps which get stuck in the trap. If the traps are checked and re-baited fortnightly, they are an effective alert to a nearby nest.
Our Pest and Disease Information Service can assist with identification of any insects caught in the traps and provide guidance throughout the year. Once a European wasp is detected in a trap, our department will assist with locating the nest and it’s destruction. Traps are provided free of charge and we can pay for the fish for community groups.
If you cannot Adopt a trap, there are further ways to assist:
- Reporting any suspect wasps.
- Spreading awareness (promoting your involvement in the program, disseminating wasp flyers, displaying posters, sharing posts on social media etc).
- Displaying signage/posters at reserves.
Key impacts of European wasps
- Pose a safety risk to land users due to their foraging activities, high aggression and hidden nests – e.g. maintenance and field staff, bush walkers, picnickers, residents, café patrons, orchardists etc.
- Underground nests are difficult to see and disturbing a nest can lead to 1000s of wasps attacking in defense.
- Risk to the environment – wasps compete with and predate on native insects; reducing insect numbers, biodiversity and ecosystem function.
- Wasps forage for human food and drink as well as pet food – causing a nuisance and a health concern to people and pets.
- Damage horticultural crops like grapes and stone fruits and predate on bees in managed apiaries – impacting home gardeners and industry alike.
Current trapping areas
Local governments are encouraged to contact the Pest and Disease Information Service (PaDIS) to recieve the link to the current trapping grid, which maps where our traps are in your local government. If we are not trapping in your area, local governments and conservation groups are encouraged to adopt-a-trap.
A small investment from everyone keeps your recreational areas and your community free of this pest.