Canberrans start to feel the sting as wasp season approaches

Dominic Giannini  29 October 2019 

Canberrans are urged to report the location of wasps with a new app. Photo: File.

With wasp season commencing there’s a buzz around a new app from the Transport Canberra and City Services’ wasp specialists which is being used to warn Canberrans about potential hotspots as the region warms up.

The eWasp app, released by wasp specialists CoreEnviro Solutions, allows users to tag wasp nests and provides information about how to respond to bites and what to do if you find a nest in your home.

“With European Wasp queens coming out of hibernation and establishing nests we are encouraging residents to reports nests and sightings through our eWasp mobile app or the website,” CoreEnviro Solutions senior pest and weed officer Jim Bariesheff said.

“The app has an easy-to-use GPS mapping tool that allows the user to report a nest or sighting by dropping a pin on the location. It also provides access to camera capability when reporting nests or identifying wasps.”

TCCS is warning locals that European wasp nests are often hidden, with common nesting sites infesting wall cavities, holes in the ground, roof voids and even within conifer trees.

“When a European wasp queen makes her nest in one of these locations, a steady stream of wasps will be seen leaving and returning to the nest as the day warms up. If a nest is disturbed, they will become aggressive and sting to protect their nest.”

So far, most wasp sightings have been reported around parks and ovals, with locals being urged to take care around these areas as summer starts to heat up. Good weather conditions have meant that Europeans wasps are becoming an increasing problem in Australia.

European wasps can nest in roof cavities. Photo: CoreEnviro Solutions.

CoreEnviro Solutions says wasp nests occur primarily in the ground and are easily sighted due to the constant wasp activity above the nest, although the entrance hole may be well-hidden by vegetation. Wasps are also attracted to sweet drinks, food, insects and pet food, and will also forage on roadkill, so residents are advised to feed their pets indoors if wasps are present.

If you are stung, the recommended first aid for a wasp sting is an ice pack to reduce the pain and swelling. However, if people are stung in the mouth, experience difficulty in breathing, or develop an itchy rash, seek medical help immediately.

It’s important that residents identify and deal with the problem earlier, as spokesperson Christina Bariesheff from CoreEnviro Solutions says, destroyed wasp nests early in the season will see a reduction in wasp numbers in the hotter months where nests may contain thousands of wasps.

Weather does play a part in the number of wasp nests expected in a season after their hibernation period, with milder winters leading to the emergence of more queens and overwintering nests.

“It is very difficult to predict a season, and is still too early in the season to make an assumption, but I am thinking we may possibly have an average season of around 400 nests, this is going by the data we have collected,” says Mrs. Bariesheff.

The warmer weather is also the start of bee swarming season where European honey bee queens are looking for a new hive location. The eWasp app now has the capability of reporting honey bee swarms and hives. By reporting honey bee swarms and hives, we can assist in relocating them via the ACT Beekeepers Association.

For reporting and information, download the eWasp app or contact the eWasp hotline via the website

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