News & Media

Drive to find European wasps before winter

Released on

Released on:
Wednesday, 22. May 2013 - 11:15

The Department of Agriculture and Food is driving a late season effort to locate European wasps before they produce new wasp queens and super-colonies over winter.

Department of Agriculture and Food senior technical officer and European Wasp Working Group (EWWG) chair Marc Widmer said it was important any remaining nests were located and destroyed as they could begin to release thousands of new wasp queens at this time of year.

“During the cooler winter months, wasp queens will hibernate, emerging in spring to forage and establish new colonies,” Mr Widmer said.

“The risk of the development of 'super colonies' over winter is high in Western Australia, due to our mild winters.”

The battle to ensure European wasps do not establish in WA is an ongoing one. They are an established pest in the eastern States and each year fertilised wasp queens can arrive via freight and cargo and seed new nests.

Currently, the department maintains around 520 European wasp surveillance traps, along with 300 traps adopted out to individuals and organisations to manage under the EWWG’s ‘adopt-a-trap’ program.

The majority of traps are in the Perth metro area, with some ‘adopt-a-traps’ in regional areas including Albany, Mount Barker, the Margaret River region, Dunsborough, Busselton, Bunbury, Mandurah and Northam.

Mr Widmer said there had been no confirmed reports of European wasps in regional locations this season.

“However, in the past, nests have been found in Albany, Kalgoorlie, Eucla, Capel, Donnybrook, Falcon, Geraldton and Kalbarri,” he said.

“Many of the ‘adopt-a-traps’ are operated by local government and they are proving to be very valuable in detecting wasp activity. For instance, we recently discovered a well hidden nest in Belmont, thanks to a City of Belmont trap catching a wasp worker one kilometre from the nest.

“The nest was quite large and active and had it remained undetected, it had the potential of releasing thousands of new wasp queens that would have seeded new nests.

“Local Government and the public joining the ‘adopt-a-trap’ initiative has helped expand our trapping into residential areas not covered by the department trapping grid.”

Mr Widmer said 39 wasp nests had been located and destroyed this season.

“Our latest find was at Banjup in the City of Cockburn. A landholder phoned the department’s Pest and Disease Information Service (PaDIS) after finding them on his property and recognising they weren’t paper wasps,” he said.

“The majority of other nest finds this season were in industrial areas including 18 nests in the Welshpool/Kewdale area, four in Bayswater, two in Canning Vale, two in Maddington, one in Belmont and one at Bibra Lake. Several nests were also found adjacent to industrial areas, including two in the suburb of Queens Park, one in the grounds of a primary school in the Belmont area, a golf course in the Canning Vale area and one nest was located along a cycle track in the Redcliffe area.

“Four nests were found in residential areas including High Wycombe, Thornlie and Gooseberry Hill. One nest was also found on the river’s edge in East Fremantle.”

Mr Widmer said calls from the public had resulted in the location of seven of the nests.  Two had been found with local government collaboration and the remainder through the department’s trapping grid.

More information about the ‘adopt-a-trap’ program is available by emailing  or by calling PaDIS on freecall 1800 084 881.


Media contacts: Jodie Thomson, media liaison  +61 (0)8 9368 3937