More traps set up as European wasp numbers spike

An all-out effort to trap European wasps such as this one is underway.
An all-out effort to trap European wasps such as this one is underway.

MORE than 1100 traps have been set up across WA in the fight against increasing European wasp numbers.

With their potential to affect horticultural industries, our lifestyle and the health of people and animals, Department of Agriculture and Food (DAFWA) senior technical officer Marc Widmer said the scavengers were considered the “world’s worst social wasp”.

DAFWA has been monitoring the pest since 1977, with more than 1000 nests detected and destroyed over that time.

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The average number of nests destroyed over previous decades hovered between 20 and 40 each year. But that spiked to more than 80 each year over the past 24 months.

Cockburn and Fremantle have not been immune from their presence, with 22 nests destroyed over the past year.

The department attributed an increase in nest numbers here to growing wasp numbers interstate and queens from these colonies accidentally being transported into WA.

There are more than 460 surveillance traps in Cockburn and Fremantle, with extra traps monitored under the volunteer Adopt-a-Trap program.

“European wasps caught in surveillance traps alert us to the presence of nearby nests,” Mr Widmer said.

“Fish lures are then used with tracing poles, along with a GPS mobile device app, to help trace wasps back to the nest so it can be destroyed.”

Visit agric.wa.gov.au, email info@agric.wa.gov.au or contact the Pest and Disease Information Service on 1800 084 881.