‘Super nests’ of European wasps feared in Canberra this season
January 16, 2018
Authorities are warning that “super nests” of up to 10,000 European wasps each could emerge in Canberra this season, with a big jump in the number of nests reported to date.
During December and the first few weeks in January, 120 nests have been reported, a substantial increase from last year’s 15 European wasp nests reported for the same period last year, pest and weed officer at CoreEnviro Solutions Jim Bariesheff said.
ACT pest control specialist Jim Bariesheff with wasp nests
he has removed. Photo: Dion Georgopoulos
Mr Bariesheff was called to a home in Palmerston, Gungahlin, on Monday, where the homeowner noticed a nest inside the wall beside her front door.
“The majority of nests have been reported on residential land in wall cavities and in four cases the [European wasps] gnawed through the gyprock and entered homes”, Mr Bariesheff said.
Pest control specialist Jim Bariesheff removes a wasp nest from a home in Palmerston. Photo: Dion Georgopoulos
He suspected that current numbers per nest were about 2000, with numbers expected to double by the end of the month.
He also expected the appearance of “supernests”, of to 10,000 per nest.
Mr Bariesheff believed the big increase in wasps was due to a milder, drier winter, which allowed European wasp queens to survive, and therefore enabled them to establish their nests much earlier than previous years.
A European wasp. Photo: Supplied
“Some of the nests can contain a lot of workers, which can be a threat to human health, so never try to treat the nest yourself,” she said.
Although multiple stings can cause an allergic reaction and there is no limit to how many times these insects are able to sting you, they won’t attack unless the nest is disturbed, or the colony is threatened.
An intact European wasp nest that Jim Bariesheff removed previously. Photo: Dion Georgopoulos
So far in January, 13 stinging incidents had been recorded.
“Most of the stinging incidents occurred when the residents either tried to treat the nest or when they got too close to the nest,” she said.
The government advises people to stay clear of nests, report them to the eWasp hotline, on 6258 5551, and call a pest control company as soon as possible.