THE growing epidemic of European wasps in Orange has driven a pest expert to call for a joint effort to eradicate them.
Rod Yates is about to move to the region from Sydney where he has previously worked to eliminate breeding colonies.
“Almost the first thing I noticed was the presence of European wasps,” he said.
Attracted by sweet foods and protein, wasps have become problematic around some al fresco dining areas and for Bunnings customers buying sausage sandwiches on weekends.
Mr Yates said the wasps could fly faster than bees, which made tracking their nests more difficult, plus the pain of their stings was 10-20 times worse than a feral bee.
“The first thing that needs to be said is don’t underestimate the power of their poison, or their capacity to sting many times,” he said.
“Their sting does not leave a barb, as a bee sting would, and when they sting, they can mark the victim with a pheromone that attracts other wasps to sting as well.”
Mr Yates said nests could be located behind the guttering in houses, under retaining walls or among plant roots and dug into the lawn itself.
“If the nests can be located, I find the best solution is to treat them with a powder based insecticide at high pressure, this is very important,” he said.
“The job can be dangerous, unless you have suitable equipment, and full protective clothing is usually necessary.”
Locating the nests can be done using chopped chicken and following the wasps as they return to the nest – the process might have to be repeated.
“As you get closer to what seems to be the site of the nest, it’s worth considering the risks involved and calling for help,” Mr Yates said.
“To say the least, they should not be ignored.
“A smallish problem now will be a much bigger one next year, so its worth making the effort to track where their nests are, and then deal with them by a permanent solution.”