Which wasp is this?

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European wasps are scavengers, so if a wasp settles on pet food, fish or other meat products it should be reported immediately. Picture: DPIRD

IT can be difficult for the average resident to tell whether the wasp building a nest on your property is a common paper wasp or the more troublesome European wasp.

The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development said the common paper wasp (polistes humilis) was a social wasp native to the eastern states introduced and had been established in Western Australia since 1956.

DPIRD officer Catherine Webb said the department encouraged people to be aware of the differences between the common paper wasp (and other native wasps) and the European wasp.

Ms Webb said the department was working with the community to prevent the European was from establishing in WA.

She said the European wasp was a declared pest in WA due to its potential to flourish and impact the state’s horticulture, outdoor lifestyles and the health of people, pets and livestock.

“Wasps can arrive in Western Australia via freight and cargo from the eastern states,’’ she said.

“The queens spread to find suitable places to seed new nests.

“Ongoing surveillance trapping and public reporting is vital. “Residents can become involved in supporting surveillance activities through the adopt-a-trap program.’’

She said 56 nests had been detected and eradicated so far this season and more than 17 confirmed community reports had led to nest detections.

“Public awareness and surveillance play an integral part.

“The most northern nests detected so far (this season) are in Wangara.

These wasps are common paper wasps not European wasps. Picture: Anita McInnes
These wasps are common paper wasps not European wasps. Picture: Anita McInnes

“European wasps resemble common yellow paper wasps but have several distinguishing features – they’re about the same size and shape as a honey bee, and are a bright lemon-yellow colour with black stripes and yellow legs, and entirely black antennae.

“They are scavengers, so if a wasp settles on pet food, fish or other meat products, photograph it if possible and report it immediately to the department.’’

European wasp sightings can be reported using the department’s MyPestGuide Reporter app or by lodging a report online.

Alternatively, volunteer to adopt-a-trap or report a suspected European wasp sighting by calling the department’s pest and disease information service (PaDIS) on 9368 3080, or email padis@dpird.wa.gov.au

More information about European wasps, the adopt-a-trap initiative and online sign-up is available on the department website at agric.wa.gov.au/wasps