Be on lookout for pest wasp menace
The hunt for invasive European wasps will heat up this summer with Australind one of two regional towns being targeted.
The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development kicked off the annual campaign with surveillance and trapping in high risk areas.
This serves as an early warning system to detect wasps which arrive via vehicle or freight cargo from interstate and overseas.
Harvey shire environmental health officer Haydn Jones said the council helped the department by reporting sightings and provided trapping packs for residents to place on their property if they suspected any activity.
“The biggest issue is if there is a nest and it gets disturbed you might get mass a exodus of wasps.
“Being a wasp means they can sting more than once and they’re quite aggressive even for wasps – they will have a go at you rather than fly away.”
Mr Jones said the council had not received any complaints about the wasps but warned people to stay vigilant.
“The European wasps are quite nasty, especially to animals,” Mr Jones said.
“They get drawn in seeking meat, they’re like scavengers more than anything, they come in to try and get a feed.
“If there’s an area that’s been identified as a hotspot, then they may look at encouraging people to feed pets inside so they aren’t attracted to a feeding zone and are more likely to go to the traps.”
Mr Jones said the traps helped identify if the wasp was invasive or native and the kept samples of European wasps helped with this process.
Department of Pest and Disease information service supervisor Catherine Webb said the European wasp was a declared pest in WA due to its potential to flourish and impact horticultural industries and the health of people, pets and livestock.
“Summer presents the best opportunity to detect the pests as the wasps leave the nest to scavenge food, driving them into our yards, recreational areas and traps,” Ms Webb said.
“Most European wasp nests are built hidden underground, so wasps that fly in and out of a single hole in the ground should also be treated as suspicious.”
Reports can be made online at mypestguide.agric.wa.gov.au, by using the MyPestGuide app or by contacting the Pest and Disease Information Service on 9368 3080 or at [email protected]