European wasp find sparks public alert

Busselton Dunsborough Times
A European wasp
Camera IconA European wasp Credit: Picture: Pia, Pia Scanlon

European wasps have been found in Busselton, the first time the pest has been detected in the South West in a decade.

The Department of Agriculture and Food this week confirmed a nest had been found in the roof cavity of a house in Busselton after a pest controller spotted it while carrying out work on the property.

DAFWA senior technical officer Marc Widmer said the wasp had not been detected in the region since a nest was found in Capel in 2007.

Mr Widmer said the wasps were frequently found in Perth and Kalgoolie-Boulder, Albany and Geraldton, where fertilised queens arrived on freight and cargo from the Eastern States.

“It’s important that we find every nest each season, because there is a risk that fertilised queen wasps will emerge from mature nests and start new nests the following spring,” he said.

Residents are being called on to look out for and report on the wasps, and to contact the department to remove them if found.

European wasps have a thick body and are about the same size and shape as a bee, are a bright lemon-yellow with black stripes, yellow legs, and entirely black antennae.

They fly with their legs tucked up close to their body and their large nests are usually built into the ground.

The wasps are scavengers, so if a wasp settles on pet food, fish or other meat products, they should be reported to the department’s Pest and Disease Information Service on 1800 084 881 or by emailing info@agric.wa.gov.au.

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