Residents in the South West are asked to look out for fast-moving wasps that are attracted to protein, following the detection of European wasps in Australind.
The European wasp is considered the world’s worst social wasp and is a declared pest in Western Australia due to its potential to flourish and impact the State’s horticulture, outdoor lifestyles and the health of people, pets and livestock.
The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development deployed additional traps in the Australind area after a single wasp was trapped in December.
Department European wasp activity leader Catherine Webb said additional wasps had recently been trapped, which indicated there was a nest in the area.
“Residents and businesses in the region are reminded to be vigilant and keep an eye out for the pest,” Ms Webb said.
“European wasps resemble common yellow paper wasps but have several distinguishing features – they’re about the same size and shape as a honey bee, and are a bright lemon-yellow colour with black stripes and yellow legs, and entirely black antennae.
“They are scavengers, so if a wasp settles on pet food, fish or other meat products, photograph it if possible and report it immediately to the department.”
Ms Webb also appealed to South West residents, local government and industry to provide additional support to the department’s grid of surveillance traps in the region.
“Through the Adopt-a-trap initiative participants are provided free traps to regularly monitor at their property and asked to replace the small raw fish lure fortnightly over summer,” she said.
“Wasps caught in traps indicate a nearby nest, usually located within one kilometre. 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.”
Last season, one European wasp nest was destroyed in Busselton and 51 nests were destroyed in metropolitan Perth.