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Get to know the European Wasp

Vespula Germanica

European Wasp

Click here for images of European Wasp Nests

Appearance

  • The European wasp (eWasp®) is an aggressive stinging insect.
  • European Wasps are bright yellow and have a black banded abdomen, and a pair of black spots on each yellow band.
  • eWasps have two pairs of clear wings with the first pair larger.
  • They have black antennae and fly with their legs held close to the body.
  • Their size is between 1.2 cm – 1.6 cm

Life cycle

  • eWasp® colonies are started in spring by a single fertilised queen, which lays an egg in a number of cells in the nest. These hatch into grub-like larvae and are tended by the queen for a number of weeks. They become the first batch of workers that take over nest construction and rearing of the larvae while the queen concentrates on laying eggs.
  • The nest grows throughout the summer until a batch of males and new queens are hatched in the autumn. These mate and fly off to start new nests. In Europe the nest then disintegrates, but in Australia’s warm climate the nest can continue to grow over a number of seasons.
  • This results in giant and potentially dangerous nests of over 100,000 wasps.

Habitat

  • eWasp® are found in large communal nests, normally only visible as a small entrance hole.
  • Nests are normally built either underground or in cavities in walls, ceilings, logs or trees.
  • eWasp® nests are made out of chewed wood fibre.
  • eWasp® workers leave the nest in search of food, and are attracted to meats, sweet food and drink.

See Precautions against European Wasps

Distribution

The eWasp® is a native of Europe, North Africa and Asia Minor. In Australia, the first European Wasps were found in Tasmania in 1959. By 1978 they had also been found in Victoria, South Australia, New South Wales and Western Australia. They are now firmly established in all these areas. eWasps are a major pest in New Zealand.

Bad – The eWasp® s has a nasty sting, they can sting multiple times. They are a nuisance to people’s homes and gardens, public places such as BBQ areas, cafes and fresh food markets, they are in search of rich protein foods to feed their larvae, such as pet food, meat from BBQs and picnics as well as insects and spiders, eWasps have a negative impact on the environment due to the large number of insects and spiders they consume, this in turn puts pressure on our native insects and birds as food becomes scarce.

Danger to humans and first aid

      If threatened or the nest is disturbed, European wasps emit an alarm pheromone summoning the rest of the colony to attack!

The eWasp® is more aggressive than bees and will attack when their nests are disturbed. Unlike bees, wasps can sting more than once, and do not die after stinging. The sting causes a burning pain and swelling. If stings are multiple, a more severe systemic reaction may occur.

In some individuals, wasp, bee and ant stings can cause an allergic reaction (anaphylaxis), but this is relatively uncommon. Effective treatment is available, which involves known bee/ant/wasp sting allergy sufferers carrying a special kit when outdoors. Immunotherapy or desensitisation is also available, and can reduce the severity of the allergy. Seven deaths over a twenty-year period attributed to wasp stings have been recorded in Australia, mainly amongst known allergy sufferers who were not carrying their preventative medicine with them.

A cold pack may be used to relieve the pain of the sting. If there is evidence of a more severe reaction or the sting victim is known to be allergic to wasp and bee venom, medical attention should be sought immediately.

The eWasp® Team do not recommend the public treating a European wasp nests, always engage a qualified Pest Controller.

Note: The use of honey based baiting systems is illegal in all States and Territories of Australia.

              Please report all European wasp nests to the European Wasp Hotline. By reporting, we are able to monitor the distribution of European wasps through urban and bush land areas and how they are affecting the native species of both prey and predator. For the research to be successful, we rely heavily on the public reporting all European wasp nests to the hotline.

For nest reporting, advice and treatment/removal, contact the European Wasp Hotline via phone, website/email or eWasp® mobile app.

Get to know the Asian Paper Wasp

(Polistes chinensis)

Asian Paper Wasp

Click here for images of Asian Paper Wasp Nests

Appearance

  • Asian Paper wasps have a small head, with medium sized eyes and medium length antennae.
  • The paper wasps body is slender, with a very narrow waist. The wings are reddish amber brown.
  • The abdomen is reddish brown with yellow rings, the body is a reddish brown to black with long bright yellow legs.
  • The Asian paper wasp grows between 1.3 cm – 2.5 cm in length.

Life cycle

  • Over-wintering female wasps emerge in spring and begin nest cell construction and egg laying.
  • The first broods (a number of young produced or hatched at one time) to emerge in late spring or early summer are only females.
  • There is no clear difference in workers and the queen, even small ones, are potentially fertile.
  • Egg production in a colony is dominated by one or a few females.
  • Male wasps are particularly noticeable in early autumn when they perform distinctive courtship behaviour.
  • Males are produced from early summer onwards, and following that, no more females are produced for the season.
  • Maximum nest size 10 cm – 12 cm.
  • Nests can grow to twice the size of a Native paper wasp nest.

Habitat

  • The Asian paper wasp may consume a considerable amount of invertebrate prey, putting prey species at risk of population decline, and indirectly threatening native predatory insects (native invertebrate such as the paper wasps and spiders) by exerting competitive pressures on them (this may include native reptile species).
  • The Asian paper wasp may compete with honey bees and native bird species for honeydew and nectar.

Bad – The Asian paper wasp is a significant public nuisance, stinging people when it is disturbed and constructing its nest on houses.

Danger to humans and first aid

Asian paper wasps can deliver painful stings and a cold pack may be used to relieve the pain. If there is evidence of a more severe reaction or the sting victim is known to be allergic to wasp and bee venom, seek immediate medical attention.

Please report all Asian paper wasp nests to the European Wasp Hotline. By reporting, we are able to monitor the distribution of the Asian paper wasp through urban areas and how they are affecting the native species of both prey and predator. For the research to be successful, we rely heavily on the public reporting all Asian paper wasp nests.

Control

Late summer and early autumn the Asian paper wasp nest can have up to 100 wasps in the nest and are more aggressive in defending their nest. It’s recommended that you seek a professional Pest Controller to treat an Asian paper wasp nest during these months.

Also ways seek professionally advice before treating wasps or nests, do not treat wasps or nests if you are allergic to bees or wasps.
Always use a register can of insecticide, the can must have wasp symbol/image on it.

Best time to treat Asian paper wasps/nests

The best time to treat Asian paper wasps or the nest is late in the evening when all the wasps are on the nest and activity is low, they are most calm at this time.

Protective Clothing

Wear protective clothing when treating a Asian paper wasp nest, protective clothing includes a bee veil, hat, long sleeved overalls or long pants, long sleeved jumper/hoodie, gloves and protective eye wear.

How to apply insecticide

Wind should always be coming from behind you, and blowing towards the Asian paper wasps or the nest, holding the registered can of insecticide in an upright position, stand a safe distance from the Asian paper wasp nest and not directly underneath the nest, the spray should reach the nest. Spray using a sweeping motions to saturate the nest.
When the Asian paper wasps are dead, you can remove the nest by hosing it down or knock it down with a stick.

Do not use this method or any other method for European Wasp nests, always engage a professional Pest Controller to treat a European wasp nest.

Get to know the Mud-dauber Wasp

(Sceliphron Sp.)

dreamstime_s_19785735_mud dauber wasp

Click here for images of Mud-dauber Wasp Nests

Appearance

  • The Mud-dauber wasp is one of the more commonly encountered wasps throughout Australia.
  • There are many species of wasps referred to as mud daubers; some other common names are dirt daubers, organ-pipe wasps, mud wasps and potter wasps.
  • Mud daubers wasps colour is either completely black or metallic blue. Some species have yellow or greenish markings on the body.
  • The body shape is usually “thread-waisted” with some mud-daubers possessing an extremely long and thin, stretched out looking body segment located between the thorax and abdomen.
  • Mud-daubers wasps generally are from 1 cm – 3 cm in length.

Life cycle

      • Mud-daubers wasps complete one or two generations per year, depending on the species.
      • In the spring, the overwintering pupae (cocoon) develop into adults.
      • The new adult females begin building a new nest. After completing the mud nest, they begin to capture insects and/or spiders that are placed into each mud nest cell.
      • Eggs are deposited on the prey within each cell, then the cell is sealed with mud. The larvae that hatch from the eggs and feed on the prey left by the adult wasp.
      • Prey are stung and paralysed, not killed, before being placed in the mud cell. This is crucial since dead prey would decompose and aren’t suitable nourishment for the larva development. The following spring, the pupae become adults, beginning the next generation of Mud-daubers wasps.
      • There are four stages in the mud-dauber life cycle, egg-larvae-cocoon-wasp, from egg to wasp takes around 3 weeks.

Habitat

      • The Mud-dauber Wasp lives in urban areas, forests and woodlands.
      • Adults feed on plant nectar, honeydew and the body fluids of spiders and insects they capture. At least two species of Mud-daubers are especially important since they are reported to seek out and capture spiders.

Good – The Mud-dauber wasp is native to Australia. Mud-daubers are very beneficial to the environment as they help reduce the numbers of some pest insects and spiders. Also, they are not likely to sting. However, it is never smart to approach their nests without exercising caution.

Danger to humans and first aid

The Mud-dauber Wasp can deliver painful stings, but attacks are rare. An ice pack may be used to relieve the pain of the sting. If there is evidence of an allergic reaction, seek immediate medical attention.

Control

The Mud-dauber wasp is beneficial to the environment as they control spiders, aphids and other pest insects. If the nest is not in a high traffic area or no one in the household is allergic to bees and wasps, they are good to have around.

Also ways seek professional advice before treating wasps or nests, do not treat wasps or nests if you are allergic to bees or wasps.
Always use a register can of insecticide, the can must have a wasp symbol/image on it.

Best time to treat mud-dauber wasps/nests

The best time to treat mud-dauber wasps or the nest is late in the evening when wasp activity is low. Mud-dauber wasps tend to rest overnight under bark, leaves, crack or crevices but also maybe found on their nest. Before removing the nest, be sure the wasps are not on or in the nest. If the wasps are on the nest, you need to destroy the wasps first, (see How to apply insecticide). Once the wasps are gone/destroyed, you can wash or smash down the nest.

Protective Clothing

Wear protective clothing when treating a mud-dauber nest, protective clothing includes a bee veil, hat, long sleeved overalls or long pants, long sleeved jumper/hoodie, gloves and protective eye wear.

How to apply insecticide

Wind should always be coming from behind you, and blowing towards the mud-dauber wasps or nest, holding the registered can of insecticide in an upright position, stand a safe distance from the mud-dauber nest and not directly underneath the nest, the spray should reach the nest. Spray using a sweeping motions to saturate the nest.
When the mud dauber wasps are dead, you can remove the nest by hosing it down or knock it down with a stick.

Do not use this method or any other method for European Wasp nests, always engage a professional Pest Controller to treat a European wasp nest.

Get to know the Native Paper Wasp

(Polistes humilis)

Native Paper Wasp

Click here for images of Native Paper Wasp Nests

Appearance

  • There are about 35 different paper wasp species native to Australia.
  • Paper wasps have a small head, with medium sized eyes and medium length antennae.
  • The paper wasps body is slender, with a very narrow waist. There are two pairs of brown-tinted wings, with the first pair larger.
  • The abdomen has some yellow/orange bands, but is mainly black.
  • The Paper Wasp grows between 1 cm – 2.2 cm in length.

Life cycle

  • Over-wintering female wasps emerge in spring and begin nest cell construction and egg laying
  • The first broods (a number of young produced or hatched at one time) to emerge in late spring or early summer are only females.
  • There is no clear difference in workers and the queen, even small ones, are potentially fertile.
  • Egg production in a colony is dominated by one or a few females.
  • Male wasps are particularly noticeable in early autumn when they perform distinctive courtship behaviour.
  • Males are produced from early summer onwards, and following that, no more females are produced for the season.
  • Maximum nest size 10 cm – 12 cm.
  • Nests contain s 12 – 20 Paper Wasps.

Habitat

  • Adult paper wasps catch caterpillars to feed their larvae, but the adults themselves feed on nectar.
  • The nest of the paper wasp is a series of cells shaped like an inverted cone. The nest is make from saliva mixed with wood fragments. When it dries, the mixture is quite paper-like, which gives these wasps their name.

Good – The Native paper wasps tend to only be aggressive when defending their nests but are otherwise beneficial insects to have around the garden.

Danger to humans and first aid

Paper wasps can deliver painful stings and a cold pack may be used to relieve the pain. If there is evidence of a more severe reaction or the sting victim is known to be allergic to wasp and bee venom, seek immediate medical attention.

Control

The Native paper wasp is beneficial to the environment as they control spiders, aphids and other pest insects. If the nest is not in a high traffic area or no one in the household is allergic to bees and wasps, they are good to have around.

Late summer and early autumn the Native paper nest can have up to 30 wasps in the nest and are more aggressive in defending their nest. It’s recommended that you seek a professional Pest Controller treat Native paper wasp nests during these months.

Also ways seek professionally advice before treating wasps or nests, do not treat wasps or nests if you are allergic to bees or wasps.
Always use a register can of insecticide, the can must have wasp symbol/image on it.

Best time to treat Native paper wasps/nests

The best time to treat Native paper wasps or the nest is late in the evening when all the wasps are on the nest and activity is low, they are most calm at this time.

Protective Clothing

Wear protective clothing when treating a Native paper wasp nest, protective clothing includes a bee veil, hat, long sleeved overalls or long pants, long sleeved jumper/hoodie, gloves and protective eye wear.

How to apply insecticide

Wind should always be coming from behind you, and blowing towards the Native paper wasps or the nest, holding the registered can of insecticide in an upright position, stand a safe distance from the Native paper wasp nest and not directly underneath the nest, the spray should reach the nest. Spray using a sweeping motions to saturate the nest.
When the Native paper wasps are dead, you can remove the nest by hosing it down or knock it down with a stick.

Do not use this method or any other method for European Wasp nests, always engage a professional Pest Controller to treat a European wasp nest.

Get to know the Sand Wasp

(Bembix Sp)

Sand wasp

The sand wasps are closely related to the Mud-dauber Wasp but, unlike their cousins, sand wasps nest in the ground.

Appearance

  • Size of a sand wasp is around 2 cm.
  • Most sand wasps are yellow and black or white and black, often with a banded pattern. Many sand wasps have pale greenish markings.
  • The sand wasp’s habit of hovering uncomfortably close to a person is for the purpose of catching flies which are attracted to that individual, it is often mistaken for aggression.

Life cycle

  • Adult sand wasps feed on nectar.
  • The wasps hunt for flies and other insects to feed their larvae.
  • Sand flies dig burrows in sand where they lay their eggs. The adult sand wasp will stock/fill the burrow with paralysed insects and cover up the burrow. When the larvae hatch, they feed on the paralysed insects in the burrow.

Habitat

  • Sand wasps are found throughout Australia.
  • Sand wasps live in urban areas, forests and woodlands.
  • Sand Wasps are solitary hunting wasps that nest in loose sand in a sunny location. They are not aggressive wasps and will not attempt to sting if you approach them.
  • They hunt for insects (some species hunt only certain species of flies) which they paralyse with their sting and drag down sand burrows to feed the larvae.
  • They are excellent hunters, capturing flies on the wing, paralysing them with venom in mid-air and carrying them back to the waiting larvae.
  • Although sand wasps may nest in a group, they do not share labour unless the nest needs defending, in which case they may attack as a swarm.

Danger to humans and first aid

Sand wasps can deliver painful stings, but are not as aggressive as the European Wasp. They normally only attack humans if their nest is disturbed. An ice pack may be used to relieve the pain of the sting. If there is evidence of an allergic reaction, medical attention should be sought immediately.

Good – The Sand wasp is native to Australia. The sand wasp is beneficial to the environment as they control spiders, aphids and other pest insects. If the nest is not in a high traffic area or no one in the household is allergic to bees and wasps, they are good to have around.

The sand wasp will defend their nest very aggressively. It’s recommended that you seek a professional Pest Controller to treat a sand wasp nest.

Control

The Sand wasp is beneficial to the environment as they control spiders, aphids and other pest insects. If the nest is not in a high traffic area or no one in the household is allergic to bees and wasps, they are good to have around.

Also ways seek professional advice before treating wasps or nests, do not treat wasps or nests if you are allergic to bees or wasps.
Always use a register can of insecticide, the can must have wasp symbol/image on it.

Best time to treat Sand wasps/nests

The best time to treat Sand wasps is when they are hovering over the nesting site, if they are in the ground, they will not get the chemical on them.

Protective Clothing

Wear protective clothing when treating a Sand wasp nest, protective clothing includes a bee veil, hat, long sleeved overalls or long pants, long sleeved jumper/hoodie, gloves and protective eye wear.

How to apply insecticide

Wind should always be coming from behind you, and blowing towards the Sand wasps or the nest, holding the registered can of insecticide in an upright position, stand a safe distance from the Sand wasp. Spray using a sweeping motions to spray the sand wasps.

Do not use this method or any other method for European Wasp nests, always contact/engage a professional Pest Controller to treat a European wasp nest.

Get to know the Spider Wasp (Mud-dauber Sp.)

(Pompilidae Sp) Image by CSIRO

ID00035Spider waspInsectaHymenopteraPompilidaeHeterodontonyx bicoloradult femaleCanberra, ACTKRPDMCC23/07/2002

Click here for images of Spider Wasp Nests (same as the Mud-dauber Wasp Nest)

Appearance

  • Size range of a Spider wasp is .5 cm – 3.5 cm long.
  • Colour of the Spider wasp is black.
  • The spider wasp has orange wings and legs and a broad orange band around its abdomen.
  • The spider wasp holds its wings up when resting but flicks them when it runs and hops about on it long legs.

Life cycle

  • Spider wasps dig burrows using their long spines on their front legs and then search quickly on the ground and around tree trunks for a spider.
  • Some spider wasps sting and paralyse a spider and then lay an egg on it but do not dig a burrow to put it in, instead the larva hatches and feeds on the body of the spider before pupating in a thin silky cocoon, in the cell.
  • There are four stages in the mud-dauber life cycle, egg-larvae-cocoon-wasp, from egg to wasp takes around 3 weeks.

Habitat

  • Spider wasps are solitary wasps.
  • Spider wasps are often seen digging in sandy soil and dragging huntsman spiders along. Some species are known to bite off the legs of larger spiders, trimming them in order to make them easier to handle.
  • They prey on spiders to feed their larvae and/or will parasitise other spider wasps to feed their larvae.
  • Some spider wasps have scales that help them walk on spiders’ webs, allowing them to sneak up and attack the spider.
  • Spider wasps will prey upon small house spiders to large spiders like a large huntsman.
  • They do not form colonies to defend nests and are not aggressive.
  • Spider wasps are active in gardens during spring/summer months.

Danger to humans and first aid

Spider wasps have potentially painful sting, however they are not aggressive and are unlikely to use their venom on humans unless extremely provoked.
If stung, an ice pack may be used to relieve the pain of the sting. If there is evidence of an allergic reaction, medical attention should be sought immediately.

Good – The Spider wasp is native to Australia. The spider wasp is beneficial to the environment as they control spiders, aphids and other pest insects. If the nest is not in a high traffic area or no one in the household is allergic to bees and wasps, they are good to have around.

Control

The Spider wasp is beneficial to the environment as they control spiders, aphids and other pest insects. If the nest is not in a high traffic area or no one in the household is allergic to bees and wasps, they are good to have around.

Also ways seek professional advice before treating wasps or nests, do not treat wasps or nests if you are allergic to bees or wasps.
Always use a register can of insecticide, the can must have a wasp symbol/image on it.

Best time to treat Spider wasps/nests

The best time to treat Spider wasps or the nest is late in the evening when wasp activity is low. Spider wasps tend to rest overnight under bark, leaves, crack or crevices but also may be found on their nest. Before removing the nest, be sure the wasps are not on or in the nest. If the wasps are on the nest, you need to destroy the wasps first, (see How to apply insecticide). Once the wasps are gone/destroyed, you can wash or smash down the nest.

Protective Clothing

Wear protective clothing when treating a mud-dauber nest, protective clothing includes a bee veil, hat, long sleeved overalls or long pants, long sleeved jumper/hoodie, gloves and protective eye wear.

How to apply insecticide

Wind should always be coming from behind you, and blowing towards the mud-dauber wasps or nest, holding the registered can of insecticide in an upright position, stand a safe distance from the mud-dauber nest and not directly underneath the nest, the spray should reach the nest. Spray using a sweeping motions to saturate the nest.
When the mud dauber wasps are dead, you can remove the nest by hosing it down or knock it down with a stick.

Do not use this method or any other method for European Wasp nests, always engage a professional Pest Controller to treat a European wasp nest.