Nests, wasps and bites on the rise in the ACT

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European wasp
Record year for the European wasp.

AN extraordinarily large European wasp nest in McKellar is the highlight in a record year of confirmed nests in the ACT.

The McKellar nest measured 1.4 metres long, 80 centimetres high and 50 centimetres wide and was one of the 798 confirmed European wasp nests reported this season.

The European wasp hotline has experienced its busiest season since 2015, says CoreEnviro Solutions senior pest and weed officer Jim Bariesheff.

“In January we reported approximately 2000 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,” he says.

“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.

“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.

“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.

“Unfortunately the high number of nests we’ve uncovered this past season has meant a higher number of stinging incidents with 88 reported to date.

He says residents can minimise European wasp presence 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 hotline on 6258 5551 and, if on residential land, call a professional pest control company to treat/destroy the nest as soon as possible,” Jim says.

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