Indigo wasp strat­egy

Coun­cil seed-funds shared com­mu­nity bait­ing pro­gram

Ovens & Murray Advertiser - - FRONT PAGE - BY JAMIE KRONBORG jkro­n­borg@ne­me­

INDIGO Shire Coun­cil has made an un­al­lo­cated bud­get pro­vi­sion of $12,000 to fund a shared com­mu­nity and coun­cil cam­paign in an at­tempt to limit Euro­pean wasp in­cur­sions in sum­mer and au­tumn.

The wasps have be­come a sig­nif­i­cant prob­lem, par­tic­u­larly in Yackan­dan­dah and Beech­worth, and in re­cent years have dis­rupted din­ing and wor­ried café own­ers, restau­ra­teurs and hote­liers of­fer­ing out­door eat­ing.

Indigo Val­ley coun­cil­lor Diane Shep­heard raised con­cerns about the pest with the coun­cil in May.

She said at the time that wasps might be con­sid­ered a small mat­ter but were chal­leng­ing peo­ple’s en­joy­ment of out­door liv­ing and busi­ness.

The coun­cil pre­vi­ously has made $500 per year avail­able to elim­i­nate wasp and wild bee hives on coun­cil-man­aged land, but in re­cent years this had in­creased to about $1500.

Indigo nat­u­ral re­sources co-or­di­na­tor Jenny Pena told the coun­cil that Euro­pean wasp colonies in Aus­tralia could re­main ac­tive for 10 months, com­pared with seven months in tem­per­ate Euro­pean coun­tries.

“This means that even con­ven­tional an­nual colonies in Aus­tralia tend to be larger,” she ad­vised.

She said stud­ies showed an Aus­tralian colony could have 11,000 work­ers in a single nest com­pris­ing up to 60,000 cells – four times big­ger than in Europe.

The coun­cil’s $12,000 will be used to help com­mu­nity groups with wasp bait­ing pro- grams and pro­vide use­ful in­for­ma­tion for res­i­dents, who re­main re­spon­si­ble for man­ag­ing wasp colonies on their land.

Cur­rent re­search shows that fixed bait sta­tions are the most ef­fec­tive method to re­duce the in­ci­dence of wasps.

Cr Shep­heard said bait­ing and other pre­ven­ta­tive strate­gies to limit wasps be­fore this year’s Yackan­dan­dah Folk Fes­ti­val had seemed to work.

“It’s a prob­lem and an is­sue through­out our area,” she told coun­cil­lors.

“A sum of $12,000 is not go­ing to solve a wasp prob­lem – we re­ally are ask­ing for peo­ple to sup­port this pro­gram and come for­ward and as­sist – but it will be a good be­gin­ning and I’m hop­ing that everyone will come on board.”

Yackan­dan­dah coun­cil­lor James Tren­ery said the wasps were re­strict­ing re­tail trade late in sum­mer so it was be­com­ing an is­sue.

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