BE ON WATCH FOR WASPS
RESIDENTS are urged to be on the lookout after a devastating pest, the European wasp, was detected in Australind last month.
Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development European wasp activity leader Catherine Webb said the pest was one of the world’s worst type of wasp and had the potential to damage horticulture, tourism and food service industries.
Ms Webb said the wasps were small and often arrived in WA in interstate freight.
The European wasp is attracted to food such as fish or other meat products, which is why it is often attracted to restaurants and cafe areas.
“Cafes and restaurants have huge problems where these have been established,” she said.
The wasps can also pose a danger to horticulture both in affecting the ecology and as a hazard to staff as they nest underground.
Ms Webb said a number of nests were detected and destroyed in metropolitan areas, but in regional areas the lower population density meant reporting from the community was particularly important.
“Community and rural reporting and awareness is incredibly important,” she said.
“We’ve increased communication with the Shire of Harvey and community groups like the Peel-Harvey Catchment Council.”
The European wasp was initially detected by an Australind resident.
“The public can put up traps in their backyard as an early alert system,” Ms Webb said.
Ms Webb said while the nest in Australind had not been found, the department was closing in.
“Wasps caught in traps indicate a nearby nest, usually located within 1km,” she said.
“The department’s biosecurity officers track foraging wasps to the nest and eradicate it free of charge. About 90 per cent of nests are hidden underground and rarely visible.”
European wasps resemble common yellow paper wasps but are the size and shape of a honey bee, are bright lemon-yellow with black stripes, yellow legs and black antennae.
Residents can obtain a trap or report a suspected European wasp by calling the Pest and Disease Information Service on 9368 3080 or email email@example.com.
European wasps can be identified by their bright yellow colour with black stripes, yellow legs and black antennae.