European Wasp Surveillance and Eradication Program

Page last updated: Wednesday, 17 July 2019 - 1:03pm

Please note: This content may be out of date and is currently under review.

Surveillance and eradication activities are undertaken in conjunction with community, local government and industry to prevent the establishment of this pest in Western Australia.

2018-19 season

The 2018-19 European wasp season is drawing to a close. By winter nests have surpassed their peak. With fewer young mouths to feed, European wasps greatly lose their drive for protein (eg. fish), making them near impossible to trap as well as track back to their nests. 

Current nest numbers and locations are available as of 19 June 2019. Final statistics will be available from our web pages after 30 June 2019. 

During 2018-19, the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) placed additional traps and dedicated additional staff to surveillance and nest destruction. The Department had considerable success. As of 19 June 2019 we have found and destroyed 66 nests over a 3 month period, compared to 100 nests found in the previous 9 months.

Most notably, DPIRD staff had to search through national parks and reserves where thick bushland made it near impossible to find nests. Being able to locate and destory nests in these areas will significantly reduce the risk of nest numbers increasing and becoming harder to find.

Our adopt-a-trap participants, local governments, community groups, businesses and the general public have also been vital to making this a productive and collaborative season.

The Department is still searching in suburbs where there could potentially still be nests. These include Banjup, Martin/Orange Grove, Kalamunda, Lesmurdie, Walliston and Pickering Brook. 

If you live in these areas, you can help us by continuing to look out for wasps. Reports of suspect wasp activity can be made all year round. Although the best time to be looking will be from September onwards, when the weather warms up and they start foraging for protein again.

Background

The European wasp, Vespula germanica, is an exotic pest to Western Australia that is already established in the eastern states of Australia. Each year fertilised wasp queens arrive in WA via freight and cargo from the eastern states.

The first European wasp nest was discovered in WA in 1977. The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD), began a trap surveillance system in the summer of 1994 as part of its ongoing European wasp eradication program. Trap surveillance was introduced to alleviate the heavy reliance on public reports to detect the presence of European wasps, and is crucial to the program today.

Surveillance 

Current program activities include inspection and maintenance of surveillance traps, wasp tracking, nest location and destruction, public awareness and community trapping programs.

Each year between November and April, the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development manages more than 1000 surveillance across the Perth metropolitan region and regional WA. Ninety five per cent of the nests have been located in metropolitan Perth, with others found in Albany, Capel, Donnybrook, Geraldton, Eucla, Kalbarri and Kalgoorlie.

Ongoing surveillance is important to prevent incursions into remote rural areas in WA where surveillance and control would be much more difficult to implement. At present, nest establishment has been primarily detected in urbanised areas. Hot spots include the industrial suburbs of Welshpool, Kewdale, Bibra Lake, Canning Vale, Malaga and Wangara.

The current program utilises MyPestGuide applications to record wasp sightings and the location of traps and nests. Surveillance officers use triangulation apps to pinpoint nest locations.  

The program is strengthened through public involvement in the Adopt-a-Trap initiative and Local Government participation through the European Wasp Working Group.

Eradication

The program has been able to successfully eradicate European wasp incursions and prevent their establishment in WA. To date, the department has destroyed more than 1060 nests, and WA remains the only place in the world to have successfully kept these wasps from establishing over such a long period.

European wasp nest treatment
European wasp nest being destroyed using pressurised canisters containing permethrin dust
If you suspect you have seen European wasps please report using MyPestGuide, or contact the Pest and Disease Information Service (PaDIS) on +61 (0)8 93683080 or padis@dpird.wa.gov.au

Contact information

Pest and Disease Information Service (PaDIS)
+61 (0)8 9368 3080