Residents in the central Wheatbelt of Western Australia are asked to keep an eye out for the unwanted European wasp, following a recent detection in Hyden.
Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development officers have worked closely with the Shire of Kondinin and landholders to locate and destroy a nest in the area this week.
Department European wasp activity leader Catherine Webb commended the action of a traveller who reported the wasps, after they were seen feeding on dead insects in the grilles of cars parked at the Wave Rock Caravan Park. The wasps were traced to a nest in nearby bushland.
The department works with the community each year to prevent the establishment of the European wasp in Western Australia.
The wasp is found in other parts of Australia and it has the potential to impact the State’s horticulture, outdoor lifestyles and the health of people, pets and livestock.
Ms Webb reminded residents and businesses in the area to watch for unusual wasp activity.
“European wasps resemble the common and widespread yellow paper wasps, but have several distinguishing features – they’re more similar to the size and shape of a honey bee, are a bright lemon-yellow colour with black stripes and yellow legs, and have entirely black antennae (feelers),” she said.
“European wasps are excellent scavengers and are attracted to both protein and sugary foods.
“If a wasp settles on pet food, fish, other meat products or on any insect animal carcass, it should be photographed if possible and reported to the department immediately.”
A trapping network made up of department and community-managed traps allows officers to find nests during the warmer months when wasps are attracted to the fish lure inside.
“Community reports of suspicious wasp activity are also highly valuable in detecting wasps outside these trapping grids, especially in rural areas,” she said.
“In this case, we acknowledge the support staff at the caravan park and the Shire in helping to locate the nest.”
To date this season, 78 European wasp nests have been located and destroyed in Western Australia.
More information about European wasps is available on the department website agric.wa.gov.au
European wasp sightings can be reported using the MyPestGuide Reporter app, MyPestGuide website or contact the department’s Pest and Disease Information Service on +61 (08) 9368 3080, or email email@example.com
Media contacts: Jodie Thomson/Lisa Bertram, media liaison +61 (0)8 9368 3937