News & Media

Hunt for European wasps underway

Released on

Released on:
Monday, 4. December 2017 - 9:30

Western Australia’s annual campaign to keep the State free of the invasive insect pest, the European wasp, has begun.

A network of more than 1000 traps deployed by the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, local governments and community members underpins surveillance efforts which run from December to June each year.

Department senior technical officer Marc Widmer said European wasps were one of the world’s worst social pests, which could impact our horticultural industries, environment and outdoor lifestyle.

“Fertilised queens are accidentally transported into WA each year from the Eastern States, where the European wasp is an established pest,” Mr Widmer said.

“It is important that we look for this pest during the warmer months when wasps are active and to prevent them from setting up nests which could lead to exponential growth in numbers.”

Last year, 52 nests were found with hotspots including Bedfordale, Kewdale, Welshpool, Hammond Park, Aubin Grove, Cockburn Central, Atwell and Thomsons Lake.

Residents are reminded to be on the lookout for any unusual wasp activity.

European wasps are about the same size and shape as a bee. They are a bright yellow and black with yellow legs.

Unlike the common yellow paper wasp which has yellow antennae, the European wasp has black antennae.

They fly swiftly with their legs tucked up close to their body and their large nests are usually built into the ground.

European wasps are scavengers, so if a wasp settles on pet food, fish or other meat products, they should be immediately reported to the department.

Photos can be supplied using the the department's MyPestGuide Reporter app or webpage mypestguide.agric.wa.gov.au. The app can be downloaded free from Google Play or the App Store.

Alternatively, contact the department’s Pest and Disease Information Service on email padis@dpird.wa.gov.au or phone (08) 9368 3080.  

To adopt your own surveillance trap or for more information on European wasps, visit the department website. 

European wasp taking tuna from a can.
European wasp taking tuna from a can.
Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development senior technical officer Marc Widmer with a European wasp trap.
Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development senior technical officer Marc Widmer with a European wasp trap.

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