SHIRE of Mundaring is encouraging residents to report suspected sightings of European wasps to the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD).
The pests, which have this year been sighted in areas of the Shire including Swan View and Boya, pose a serious environmental and agricultural risk to the State and are therefore prohibited in Western Australia.
DPIRD senior technical officer Marc Widmer said community awareness about the European wasp was fantastic.
"European wasps threaten our horticulture, viticulture and apiculture industries, as well as our outdoor lifestyle, tourism industry, human health and the wellbeing of pets and livestock," Mr Widmer said.
"Western Australia has been successful in preventing the pest from establishing for 41 years due largely to community awareness and ongoing surveillance activities."
Mr Widmer said there were tell-tale clues to help people differentiate the pest from the common yellow paper wasp.
"European wasps are thick-bodied and about the same size and shape as a common honey bee," he said.
"They are a bright lemon-yellow colour with black stripes and yellow legs, and their antennae are entirely black.
"They are scavengers, so if a wasp settles on pet food, fish or other meat products, they should be regarded as suspicious and reported to the department."
Shire of Mundaring senior environmental health officer Martin Shurlock said that, already over the 2017/18 season, 13 public enquiries regarding European wasps in the Shire of Mundaring had been lodged with the department's Pest and Disease Information Service.
"Two of these reports - one in Swan View and one in Boya - were confirmed by the department to be European wasps," he said.
"The Shire encourages residents to familiarise themselves with characteristics of the European wasp and report any suspected sightings to DPIRD's Pest and Disease Information Service."
Members of the public also have the option to 'Adopt a trap'. To date in 2017/18, DPIRD has deployed more than 1320 traps in WA. Of those more than 30 were deployed in the Shire of Mundaring.
More information about European wasps is available on the DPIRD website dpird.wa.gov.au
How to report a European wasp sighting:
To adopt a trap or report a suspected European wasp sighting, call the Pest and Disease Information Service on +61 (08) 9368 3080, or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Alternatively, download the MyPestGuide Reporter app to your smart-device, available from the App Store, and Google Play.
People without a smart-device can lodge a suspect European wasp report online.
How to differentiate a European wasp from a Yellow paper nest wasp:
|European wasp||Yellow paper nest wasp|
|Squat body||Long, thin wasp-like body|
|Bright lemon-yellow and black||Bright yellow and black|
|Black antennae||Orange-brown antennae|
|Tuck legs up when flying||Hang legs down when flying|
|Fly swiftly and tend not to hover||Often seen hovering |
|Nests usually underground||Nests under eaves, tiles and ridge-capping, and in piping and bushes |
|Interested in meat, fish and pet food||Not interested in meat|