News & Media

Annual European wasp program gets underway

Released on

Released on:
Thursday, 12. November 2020 - 11:30

The annual campaign to stop European wasps gaining a foothold in Western Australia is underway, with residents and businesses reminded to be on the lookout for the invasive pest. 

European wasps are widely established in other southern states, but have been successfully controlled in WA due to concerted efforts by the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) in partnership with local government, other State agencies and the community.

About 2900 surveillance traps will be deployed across Perth and regional areas over summer and autumn, as part of coordinated surveillance efforts.

DPIRD invasive species and environmental biosecurity director Victoria Aitken said European wasps had the potential to impact on WA’s outdoor lifestyle, agricultural industries and the environment.

“During the warmer months, wasps leave their nests to scavenge for food making them easier to detect and trace back to their nest,” Ms Aitken said.

“Last season 118 nests were located and destroyed, which has potentially prevented the breeding of thousands of wasps if those nest were not found.

“The WA community plays a vital role in the early detection of this pest and we encourage everyone to be on the lookout and report any suspect finds to DPIRD.”

Because of their yellow and black stripes, European wasps may be confused with other already established or native wasps or bees.

Unique European wasp traits include scavenging proteins and sugars such as meat, fish and fruit, black antennae and flying with legs raised.

Most nests are concealed underground, so wasps that fly in and out of a single hole in the ground should be reported.

“We ask bushwalkers frequenting the areas of Banyowla Regional Park, Ellis Brook Valley Reserve, Korung National Park, the Victoria Reservoir and Canning River Regional Park to be alert and look for wasps,” Ms Aitken said.

“Suburbs where we encourage people to be particularly vigilant include Malaga, Martin, Middle Swan, Kewdale, Belmont, Thornlie, Maddington, Welshpool, Kalamunda, Mundaring, Canning Vale, Gosnells, Orange Grove, Aubin Grove, Burswood and Banjup.

“Anyone working in or visiting the Swan Valley is asked to keep a lookout following two detections in Middle Swan last season.”

In the regions, Hyden and Geraldton will be trapped this season, due to detections last year.

Suspect European wasp reports can be made online at, by using the MyPestGuideTM Reporter app or by contacting the Pest and Disease Information Service on +61 (0)8 9368 3080 or email

Further information can be found here.

European wasps on fish
European wasps scavenge for meat and pet food.


Media contacts:

Jodie Thomson/Megan Broad, media liaison            +61 (0)8 9368 3937