Weeds and Bushcare News
Beware of European Wasps
April 5, 2005
photo: © Dr Philip Spradbery
European wasps pack a painful sting. They are very aggressive and may swarm to attack anyone approaching their nest. Bushcare teams need to be able to identify European Wasps, but should keep well away from their nests.
They've been very active in the ACT where Russell Watkinson, Director of Canberra Urban Parks and Places, warned residents about them.
"European wasps are very aggressive at this time of the year and will not hesitate to attack and sting repeatedly if their nest is disturbed," said Mr Watkinson.
"Wasp nests are also fully established at the moment and they may contain thousands of wasps.
"The European wasp is renowned for its painful sting that can require medical treatment. Unlike bees, European wasps are able to sting repeatedly; therefore people with allergies should take extreme care.
"European wasps are attracted to water, sweet drinks and food making them a pest during outdoor activities such as barbecues and picnics.
"Covering the food will reduce the risk of being stung. It is important not to leave cans of drink open and unattended, as a wasp may get in and sting the mouth or throat when people then have a drink. Always use a straw in the can, or drink from a glass.
"People can identify a European wasp by its shape and colour markings - they have prominent black and lemon-yellow stripes, with black spots down their abdomen and yellow legs. They are larger than a honey bee but are thinner, and have longer wings and long black antennae.
"Their nests are always concealed and often found under ground in the soil or above the ground in rockeries, wall or roof cavities and tree stumps. Nests can be found by the constant stream of wasps flying to and from one particular location."