News and Views

Residents on alert for European wasps

bedfordale-south-eastern
Residents in the south eastern metropolitan hills and foothills have been asked to report any sightings of European wasps, one of the world’s worst social and environmental pests.

There have been four recent discoveries of European wasp nests in the Perth suburb of Bedfordale, prompting the Western Australian Department of Agriculture and Food to warn residents in the south eastern metropolitan hills and foothills to be alert for the declared pest.

Western Australian Department of Agriculture and Food senior technical officer Marc Widmer said the discoveries suggested that there could be more nests in the area.

“In 2016 we had no reports of European wasps in the Bedfordale area, but one in 2015, so we think that perhaps a nest had gone undetected between 2015 and 2017,” Mr Widmer said.

“With larger properties in the south east metropolitan fringe, the public’s support to assist surveillance efforts is vital to ensure this social and environmental pest does not become established in Western Australia.”

European wasps are about the same size as common honey bees, bright yellow in colour, with black stripes, yellow legs, and black antennae on their heads.

Reports of suspect sightings can be made using the Western Australian Department of Agriculture and Food’s free MyPestGuide Reporter app, or to the Pest and Disease Information Service on freecall 1800 084 881.

Mr Widmer said residents, businesses, and community groups can also join the Western Australian Department of Agriculture and Food’s Adopt-a-Trap program, which uses protein lures to capture foraging workers, suggesting the presence of a nearby nest.

“There are more than 1,400 Western Australian Department of Agriculture and Food and volunteer European wasp traps throughout the metropolitan area in locations where the pest is most likely to be detected, but outlying suburbs would benefit from more surveillance traps,” he said.

Mr Widmer applauded the community’s use of social media to raise awareness about European wasps but warned the public not to approach the pest.

“European wasps are particularly attracted to protein and can be found near barbeques, rubbish bins, dog food, and picnic areas,” he said.

“Be careful not to get too close to European wasps, because their sting is very painful and can be dangerous to people, pets, and livestock.”

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