Canberrans have been revelling in the unusually warm autumn and so has the European wasp, with the eWasp hotline experiencing its busiest season since 2015 and a record number of nests confirmed.
CoreEnviro Solutions Senior Pest and Weed Officer, Jim Bariesheff said the current season had seen 798 confirmed eWasp nests, including an extraordinarily large one in McKellar measuring 1.4 metres long, 80 centimetres high and 50 centimetres wide.
“In January we reported approximately 2,000 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.
“We’ve addressed a number of nests in public areas including parklands, shopping centres and cafés. Where numbers were found to be very high, we set up baiting programs to reduce numbers for public safety. These programs have been very successful in reducing wasp numbers.”
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Mr Bariesheff said there had also been a higher number of stings, with 88 reported to date.
CoreEnviro Solutions is urging residents and business owners to conduct regular inspections of their property for possible eWasp nests and encourage their neighbours to do the same.
“Wasps can gain access through cracks, crevices and holes around windows and door frames. Residents should look out for a steady stream of wasps leaving and returning to an area,” Mr Bariesheff said.
“We urge the public not to disturb wasp nests. Disturbing the nest will only aggravate the wasps and cause them to become aggressive in attempts to protect their nests, ultimately resulting in more stinging incidences.”
He said residents could minimise eWasps around their property by picking up fallen fruit, not leaving uneaten pet food or dog bones outdoors, ensuring rubbish bins have tight-fitting lids and covering compost bins.
“It is strongly advised that when a nest is located, you should stay clear of the area, report it to the eWasp Hotline on 6258 5551 and if on residential land, 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,” Mr Bariesheff said.
For more information, images and a list of pest control companies, visit the eWasp website at www.ewasp.com.au