European Wasp Alert

Found in: Swan News

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The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development has advised that European wasp nests have been found in this area.

The department is carrying out surveillance activities close by, including placing traps in trees and tracking any wasps sighted. They are asking our College community to become involved in their surveillance program by looking and reporting anything that might look like a European wasp. Community support increases the chances of finding every nest in the area. The department has also provided some advice below on how to keep students safe in the schoolyard.

European wasps are declared pests under our Biosecurity and Agriculture Management Act 2007. They are one of the world’s worst wasp species, due to their attraction to human and pet food, and the potential to create huge nests. They are not established in Western Australia and the department has an ongoing surveillance program to eradicate all known nests.

How to identify European wasp

  • They are likely to be near lunch eating areas, bins, barbecues, pet food and bodies of water such as a swimming pool or bird bath.
  • They have all-black antennae and legs are held close to their bodies during flight (the back legs of a paper wasp dangle).
  • Look for wasps flying in and out of a hole in the ground, as their nests are usually below the ground (paper wasp nests are usually above ground).

How to report European wasp

Health and safety advice

  • Sting or swallow risk. European wasps scavenge on human foods - sweet and savoury foods, food scraps, fruit and sweet drinks, and can settle on lunchboxes, drink cans and bottles, and in hand. They may also seek out water sources such as drinking fountains.
  • Disturbing nests. Nests can be as big as a basketball or larger, commonly containing several thousand wasps. Most nests are underground with a small, single entrance hole that can be easily hidden, posing a risk of being accidently stepped on, causing the wasps to act aggressively.
  • Allergic reactions. Similar to bees, the venom from the sting of a European wasp may cause hypersensitive or allergic reactions.


A fact brochure on European wasps can be downloaded here and a ‘Spot the Difference’ info poster can be accessed here.


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