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European Wasps, a threat to KI

News release
15 December 2014

European Wasps (Vespula germanica) have not established on Kangaroo Island but are common on the mainland. European wasps can attack bees and beehives and rob them of honey – thus they are a threat to our important honey industry. Wasps can damage soft fruits and in particular cause substantial damage to grape crops. They are also a significant environmental pest, killing native insects and competing with other species including birds. Finally, they are a social amenity nuisance in areas where they are abundant, affecting tourism because they are attracted to foods, drinks and outdoor BBQ areas.

Wasps can sting several times in an attack. Wasp stings may therefore need medical attention. Fatalities have been caused by allergic reactions in patients who have been stung multiple times.

In response to this threat the Kangaroo Island NRM Board is establishing a surveillance and monitoring program using wasp traps. The wasp trapping program aims to provide a mechanism for detecting wasp infestations at the early stages of establishment when eradication is still a viable option. The traps will be in place and monitored from November through to March each summer, as these are the months when European wasps are active in South Australia.

Given the large quantity of freight transported to Kangaroo Island it is quite possible, even highly probable that European wasps will arrive and become established here.

We need help to keep our island wasp free. Volunteers are required to assist in checking traps that will be set in Penneshaw, Kingscote and American River. Traps need checking fortnightly and it only takes a few minutes to check each trap.

If you are interested in assisting in monitoring a trap in your area, or you think you’ve sighted a European Wasp on KI, please contact us.