The Western Australian public has been instrumental in reporting European wasps to the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development which has led to record numbers of the invasive insect pest being eliminated this season.
More than 124 colonies of European wasps have been eliminated so far this season through the department’s ongoing campaign to keep the State free of the serious pest.
Department senior technical officer Marc Widmer said the public had been extremely helpful in reporting wasp activity again this year, with nests then being located and destroyed across an area almost the size of Tasmania.
“This is a new record for the highest number of European wasp nests in one season,” Mr Widmer said.
“Last year, only 52 nests were found throughout the campaign effort with hotspots around the Kewdale and Cockburn areas and surrounding suburbs.
“We still need more help from the public to locate as many nests as possible before winter, especially in this year’s hotspots which includes Greenmount and surrounding suburbs (32 nests), Lesmurdie (13 nests) and Orange Grove/Kenwick/Maddington areas (39 nests).”
Mr Widmer said a network of more than 2000 traps was deployed by the department, local governments and community members as part of this year’s campaign which ends in June.
“European wasps are one of the world’s worst social insect pests, which, if established, would impact our horticultural industries, environment and outdoor lifestyle,” Mr Widmer said.
“It is important that we look for this pest during the warmer months when wasps are most active and that we find the nests before they mature and release new queens which could lead to exponential growth in numbers.”
Residents are reminded to be on the lookout for any unusual wasp activity. European wasps are scavengers, so if a wasp settles on pet food, fish or other meat products, including dead insects, they should be immediately reported to the department.
They are the same size and shape as a bee, but with yellow legs and are a bright yellow and black with black antennae. Body marks are similar to yellow paper wasps.
Photos can be supplied using 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 firstname.lastname@example.org or phone (08) 9368 3080.
To adopt your own surveillance trap or for more information on European wasps, visit the department’s website.
Media contacts: Jodie Thomson, media liaison +61 (0)8 9368 3937