A record number of European wasp nests have been found in the ACT this season, with some “super nests” home to more than 10,000 wasps.
CoreEnviro Solutions senior pest and weed officer Jim Bariesheff said 798 European wasp nests had been confirmed in the ACT, with the wasp hotline experiencing its busiest season since 2015.
This European wasp nest, found in McKellar, was 140 centimetres long, 80 centimetres high and 50 centimetres wide.
He said the discoveries included an “extraordinarily large” nest in McKellar, which was 140 centimetres long, 80 centimetres high and 50 centimetres wide.
“In January, we reported approximately 2000 wasps per nest, but with the large volume of nests reported and destroyed since, we have experienced larger than normal nests, with some containing over 10,000 wasps,” Mr Bariesheff said.
“Unfortunately, the high number of nests we’ve uncovered this past season has meant a higher number of stinging incidents, with 88 reported to date.”
CoreEnviro Solutions senior pest and weed officer Jim Bariesheff removes a European wasp nest from a home in Palmerston, in January.
Photo: Dion Georgopoulos
The increase in wasp numbers was believed to be because of a milder, drier winter, which allowed European wasp queens to establish their nests
The increase in wasp numbers was believed to be because of a milder, drier winter, which allowed European wasp queens to establish their nests earlier than in previous years.
A number of the nests were found in public areas, including parklands, shopping centres and cafes.
In cases where the numbers were found to be very high, Mr Bariesheff said baiting programs had successfully reduced wasp numbers.
Mr Bariesheff said people should regularly check their properties for wasp nests and encourage their neighbours to do the same.
To make properties less attractive to wasps, he said people should pick up fallen fruit, not leave uneaten pet food or dog bones outside, ensure rubbish bins had tight-fitting lids, and cover compost bins.
“Wasps can gain access through cracks, crevices and holes around windows and door frames,” Mr Bariesheff said.
“Residents should look out for a steady stream of wasps leaving and returning to an area.”
The ACT government advises people to stay clear of nests, report them to the European Wasp hotline on 6258 5551, and call a pest control company as soon as possible.