European wasps are about the same size as bees but have yellow bands with black V-shaped markings down their backs. They have the ability to sting repeatedly and can trigger allergic reactions.
European wasps are attracted to sweet food and drinks, and have become a pest at outdoor events and barbecues.
Preventing wasp stings
- Never drink directly from a can or bottle outdoors, as wasps can crawl inside unnoticed and sting the throat, causing swelling and possible choking. Instead pours cans of drink into a glass, or use a straw.
- Check each mouthful of food when eating food outdoors.
- Wear shoes when walking on grass.
- Don’t swat or annoy wasps that are hovering around food, as wasps are attracted to moving objects.
To avoid wasps coming onto your property, you can do the following:
- keep compost heaps and rubbish bins covered at all times
- remove old or damaged fruit if you have any fruit trees in your garden
Treating wasp stings
If stung, apply an ice pack to the sting. If an allergic person is stung, apply pressure to the limb or sting area and seek medical help immediately. Ventolin may help to treat breathing difficulties.
Controlling European wasps
The only effective way to control a European wasp problem is to destroy the nest. Local Law requires residents to ensure a wasp nest does not remain on their premises. The safest way to remove a wasp nest is to contact a pest control expert to treat the nest, as the wasps can become extremely aggressive if the nest is attacked.
Do not risk upsetting the swarm or nest on your own – to do so could be very dangerous to yourself and others. Wasps can cause painful stings, and even death if the sting produces an anaphylactic reaction.
Keep children and pets away; and make sure doors and windows are closed. Ensure food remains covered and drinks are capped or covered.
Preventing nest development
In winter the queen wasp will hibernate, usually in firewood, stacked materials or in roofs and sheds. In early spring, they fly around looking for a new nesting site. This is a great opportunity to prevent a nest being developed. Queen wasps are large and slow moving, making them an easy target for spraying with an insecticidal spray.
European wasps make their nests in sheltered areas around buildings, rubbish heaps, rocks, trees or shrubs. The nests look like grey cardboard and are usually the size of a football. You can often locate a nest by the constant stream of wasps flying to and from one particular location.
Always hire a professional to remove your wasp nest.