Reports to the European Wasp Hotline of wasps seeking sites and establishing nests in suburban Canberra are the highest in many years, the ACT Government has announced.
“After months in hibernation the queen wasps are now visiting homes and gardens and often getting into people’s houses in their search for food,” said Julie Garbode, Manager, Planning and Programs, Territory and Municipal Services.
“The large queens, in their imposing yellow and black livery, are up to 25mm in length with a formidable sting.
“Ultimately each queen wasp represents a potential nest. If left uncontrolled, this nest can ultimately get as big as a basketball with up to 5,000 worker wasps, all set to plague suburban barbeques and picnics during the summer and autumn months if they are not controlled.
“Last year in Canberra, nearly 60 per cent of all reported European wasp nests were built inside house structures such as cavity walls and roof spaces, with the remainder built underground.
“If a nest is disturbed the wasps will vigorously defend their home by stinging repeatedly in large numbers. The wasps produce a potent alarm pheromone that acts as a recruitment signal for the wasps within the nest. Residents of Canberra with a European wasp nest on their property, especially if built in the house structure, are strongly advised to engage a qualified pest controller to treat the nest.
“If stung, the recommended first aid is an ice pack applied to the site of the sting to reduce pain and swelling. If people experience any difficulties breathing after being stung, this indicates a severe allergic reaction and emergency attention must be sought.”
Contact the European Wasp Hotline on 6162 1914 for free advice on identification and control measures or visit the TAMS website at www.tams.act.gov.au
(Territory and Municipal Services Directorate Media Release)