“Residents should watch for wasps flying in and out of walls in the house or from holes in the ground near their homes, as this is a sign European wasps are nesting,” says Dr Philip Spradbery, wasp expert with Territory and Municipal Services.
“Wall cavities and roof spaces are a popular place for wasps to establish their nests and they can damage interior walls and even excavate their way through plasterboard.
“Wasps spend the winter months in deep hibernation, but with the recent warmer weather European wasp queens are now searching for nesting sites and building their embryonic nests. The nest site is generally well hidden underground or in housing structures like roof spaces and wall cavities. Any gap or hole in a building, such as between bricks or outer cladding, can be exploited by the queen.
“At first the queen builds a nest about the size of a golf ball with a small comb containing 20 to 30 worker wasp larvae. Once the workers are reared to adults the queen can remain safely in the nest to produce more offspring. By Christmas, nests of the European wasp can be the size of a soccer ball containing hundreds of adult wasps.
“Wasp stings are best treated with an ice-pack which helps reduce swelling and pain. If stung in the mouth or if breathing difficulties occur after a sting, it is a sign of a severe allergic response and medical help should be sought immediately.
“Nests in buildings should be reported as soon as possible and should be treated by a registered pest controller.”
More help with wasps or other insect problems or identification, call the European wasp hotline on 6162 1914