East Cannington woman committed to European wasp eradication as adopt-a-track-advocate


European wasp.
European wasp.

FROM her home in East Cannington, Sian Mawson is committed to protecting WA flora and fauna.

For years she has done her part; – growing plants from her home to aid bush rehabilitation, to participating in Friend of Queens Park Bushland group, – but it’s her work in European wasp eradication as an adopt-a-trap advocate that she hopes to expand to the public.

In the summer of 2016, Ms Maswon found two nests of the pests, which flourishes in the hot conditions and negatively impacts on horticultural industries, outdoor lifestyle and the health of people, pets and livestock.

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The Department of Agriculture and Food is now in its 40th year of European wasp surveillance and eradication, deploying more than 1000 traps in the Perth metropolitan area this season.

The European wasp is considered the world’s worst social wasp and since 1977, DAFWA has detected and destroyed more than 1000 wasp nests.

Concentrated efforts so far in the 2016/17 season have resulted in more than 1100 wasp traps set in the Perth metropolitan region, and some country areas, to help detect the serious pest.

Ms Mawson said she was pleased to be part of the trapping program, and urged residents to recognise the distinctive wasp, and familiarise themselves with native wasps for the region.

“At first it was the decisive behaviour of the European wasp which alerted me to it being different to other wasps,” Ms Mawson said.

“Wasps usually hover around, whereas these ones go straight to where they want and then leave again.

“The adopt-a-trap strategy is the easiest way to find European wasps. You just check it once a week and report back to DAFWA, but failing that I would say to people to know what wasps should be in your area and familiarise yourself with that.”

So far 750 adopted traps had been given to volunteers, with more available.

The location of all department traps, and destroyed nests, were mapped using GPS, providing an image of potential hotspots on a customised database.

Adopt-a-Trap participants could also choose to display their traps on the MyPestGuide website.

DAFWA senior technical officer Marc Widmer said the community was key to the success of the program.

“The success of the department’s European wasp program is largely a story of collaboration with members of the community, industry and local government,” he said.

“Biosecurity is a shared responsibility and the support of local government and the public is valuable and appreciated.”

Interested people are invited to adopt a trap provided by the department, and regularly set it with a non-toxic protein lure and check it for European wasps.

More information about the adopt-a-trap initiative is available on the department’s website agric.wa.gov.au or call DAFWA Pest and Disease Information Service on 1800 084 881 or email info@agric.wa.gov.au.