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European wasps thrive in our indian summer

CSIRO : 09 October, 2006  (Technical Article)
Just when you thought it was safe to leave your can of soft drink uncovered, CSIRO and the ACT Department of Urban Services are warning that European wasps are still very active in the local area.
As many new European wasp nests continue to be found around Canberra both organisations are calling on local residents to be vigilant and assist efforts to control the pest.

'Householders should not treat nests themselves,'says CSIRO Entomology Identification Officer, Serkan Alasya. 'The wasps are very aggressive if you disturb their nests and you risk being stung. If you find a nest, call in a pest control expert.'

Nests found on public land are destroyed by Urban Services. If local residents find a nest on public land they should contact CSIRO Entomology's Identification and Advice Service (Ph. 6246 4263). Nests found on private property are the owner's responsibility.

Mr Alasya says that thousands of new queen and male wasps are being produced at this time of the year. After mating, the queens will hibernate over winter and then seek out new nesting sites next spring.

'We need to reduce nest numbers now so there are fewer next year,' he says. 'And to do this we need to locate and destroy as many nests as possible.'

A volunteer from the Ginninderra Creek Catchment Group, MrStephen Selden, says he has tracked down over 40 nests this season along Ginninderra Creek, all of which have now been destroyed.

'If you see European wasps in your area, you 'passively' observe the direction they are flying and try to work out their flight path in order to locate the nest,' Mr Seldon says. 'This is best done early morning and late afternoon.'

If the wasps are flying randomly, a small amount of cat or dog food can be used to attract them. The wasps will collect the food and fly back to their nest by the most direct route.

European wasp nests are always hidden. They can be found in the ground, base of a tree or in a wall or roof cavity. The entrance can be as small as a 50 cent piece and the only indication of a nest will be the stream of wasps flying in and out. The entrance of the nest resembles an airport; with wasps constantly landing and taking off.
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