Be on look­out for pest wasp men­ace

Harvey-Waroona Reporter - - NEWS - ■ Sam Gibbs

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]

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