News & Media

European wasp find at Banjup

Released on

Released on:
Thursday, 2. May 2013 - 10:30

An alert landholder has led to the discovery of a European wasp nest at Banjup in the City of Cockburn.

The find brings the number of nests found in Western Australia over the past summer and autumn to 39.

Department of Agriculture and Food senior technical officer and chair of the European Wasp Working Group (EWWG) Marc Widmer said the find highlighted the importance of assistance from the public in the effort to eradicate European wasps.

“The landholder at Banjup phoned the department’s Pest and Disease Information Service (PaDIS) after finding European wasps on his property and recognising they weren’t paper wasps,” Mr Widmer said.

“The nest was situated at the base of a paperbark in an isolated grove of trees on a large property. It was very fortunate for us that the nest was discovered and reported.

“I would urge members of the public to contact PaDIS if they suspect they have sighted a European wasp, which can be confused with the common yellow paper wasp.

“Both are striped yellow and black, but they do have some different characteristics to tell them apart.

“European wasps have black antennae, while paper wasps have orange-brown antennae.

“Paper wasps are longer and thinner, will hover and dangle their back legs in flight, whereas European wasps have a stout body, more like a bee and hold their legs close to their body when in flight.”

The current season to detect European wasp nests is drawing to a close, but Mr Widmer said people should still remain on the lookout for the pest.

“We are currently intensifying our search for nests before they produce new wasp queens and super-colonies over winter,” he said.

“At this time of year, they can start producing thousands of new wasp queens which will hibernate over winter, emerging in spring to establish new colonies.”

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.

“We welcome members of the public who would like to adopt traps, which are provided free under the program,” Mr Widmer said.

“As this case at Banjup has shown, public alertness and assistance is vital in stopping European wasps from establishing in WA.

“Department officers destroy European wasp nests free–of-charge, but we rely very much on trap surveillance and public reports to keep this pest at bay.”

European wasps are a declared pest in WA, since they present a potential threat to the soft fruit industry, vineyards and the honey and pollination industries.

They can also be a serious outdoor pest, impacting on health, lifestyle and the environment.

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


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