20 March 2022 An Invasion Is Imminent
After a 15-year absence, European wasps are back in Sydney with a vengeance!
The European wasp (Vespula Germanica), also known as the German wasp, used to be a prevalent pest in Sydney but hasn’t been sighted for many years, until recently.
Rowan Gregson, Technical Solutions Advisor with Sundew Solutions, said, “European wasps were common in Sydney in the 1990’s but their numbers fell, presumably due to climatic reasons, with none being reported in a 2019 survey of pest controllers.”
Recently, there have been European wasp sightings all over Sydney. “In just the last two weeks, pest controllers have reported treating European wasp nests in Campbelltown, Liverpool, Fairfield, Penrith, Dulwich Hill, Hurstville and Sans Souci,” Mr Gregson said.
Why should we care?
Warwick Madden, Principal Research Scientist at Further Research and Consulting, said that European wasps are extremely aggressive and more dangerous than other wasps. “Unlike a bee, a wasp can sting multiple times,” Mr Madden said. “They release a pheromone that attracts its nest mates to join in an attack,” he added. “In 2019, a 7-year-old girl in Braidwood was stung up to 300 times and is lucky to be alive!”
In addition to the health risk, Mr Madden believes that the loss of amenity is a significant issue as European wasps are highly attracted to proteins and sugars. “An outdoor picnic of BBQ snags and soft drinks is an open invitation to European wasps,” said Mr Madden. “Pet food and fruit trees are also a favourite!”
Mr Gregson said that European wasps have been a continual problem in the southern states with some areas suffering from a drop in tourism due to large numbers of the pests. “The wasps are a declared pest in both WA and the ACT,” he added. “The Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council has taken the step of contracting a feral pest manager to take care of the enormous number of wasps in Braidwood,” he said. “Now it appears it’s Sydney’s turn.”
Mr Gregson believes that NSW State and Local governments should be taking action to manage the increasing number and distribution of European wasps. “We need a strategy to ensure we can get on top of the situation before it really takes hold,” he said, “otherwise, the European wasp influx, and the dangers it presents, will only increase,” Mr Gregson said.
Mr Gregson said that the VESPEX website, www.vespex.com.au, contains comprehensive information about identifying and treating European Wasps as well as a directory of pest management specialists accredited in the their eradication.
To become a Sundew VESPEX Accredited Specialist to be able to remote bait European wasps when nests are unable to be located visit Vespex Accreditation Course (sundewsolutions.com.au) or contact Rowan Gregson at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0422 403 556 for more information.