Pest experts are warning of European wasp super nests with an upsurge in wasp reports and numbers expected to double by the end of January.
Consultants CoreEnviro Solutions Senior Pest and Weed Officer, Jim Bariesheff said a spike in wasp reports had been received following a more mild, dry winter, with surviving European wasp (eWasp) queens establishing their nests much earlier than previous years.
“Currently wasp numbers per nest are approximately 2,000 and are expected to double by the end of January,” Mr Bariesheff said.
“With the amount of eWasp nests reported to the European Wasp Hotline, we expect to see super nests this season, where wasp numbers could reach up to 10,000 per nest.
“From December 2017 to 15 January 2018, 112 nests have been reported, compared to the previous year, which saw 15 eWasp nests. This is quite a substantial number of nests for this time of the year/season.”
Mr Bariesheff said the majority of nests had been reported on residential land in wall cavities and in four cases the eWasps had gnawed through the gyprock and entered homes.
“With Canberrans due to return home from holidays, we are advising the public to thoroughly inspect their properties. Nests are often hidden, the most common nesting sites are in wall cavities, a hole in the ground, roof voids and can also be found in conifer trees,” he said.
“Wasps can gain access through cracks, crevices and holes around windows and door frames. Residents will often see a steady stream of wasps leaving and returning to the area.”
If an eWasp nest is disturbed, or the colony is threatened, wasps will become very aggressive in protecting their nest, swarming in large numbers, stinging multiple times. Multiple wasp stings can cause a severe allergic reaction, so seek immediate medical attention if this happens.
Mr Bariesheff said that so far in 2018 there had been 13 eWasp stinging incidents recorded, with most occurring when the residents either tried to treat the nest or when they got too close to the nest.
He said café/restaurant owners who are experiencing large numbers of eWasps around their premises should contact the European Wasp Hotline on 6258 5551.
He urged people to stay clear of any nest, report it to the eWasp Hotline, and call a professional pest control company to treat/destroy the nest as soon as possible.
eWasp nests can also be reported directly via the eWasp mobile app and residents can stay up to date by liking the eWasp Facebook page.
For more information visit the eWasp website at www.ewasp.com.au