European Wasps

The European Wasp is an introduced species and therefore does not have natural predators in Australia to keep their numbers low. European wasps are a pest because they are far more aggressive than native wasps. Lack of predators and warmer weather conditions mean that the European wasp is an increasing problem in Australia.

Signs of European Wasp Activity

European Wasps have yellow and black bodies, and yellow legs - different from the honey bee which has black legs. They will commonly fly around human food sources such as pet food bowls or at a bar-b-q or picnic in ever-increasing numbers as numbers build up over spring and summer as more wasp nests are established.

European wasps can build their nests underground and in trees as well as under, or in the walls of, houses. The nests look like grey cardboard and are usually about the size of a football. European Wasp nests reach their maximum size in autumn.

Individual wasps are known to hibernate during winter under tree bark, among dead leaves, in wood piles and building materials if they are caught away from their hive when temperatures drop. Always wear gloves when handling these materials during autumn, winter and early spring. Individual wasps are usually very docile in winter while hibernating and are easier to kill in this state using a stick or club.

Never use your bare hands.

Preventing European Wasp Activity

Prevention can include simple things such as:

  • Avoiding leaving food around such as pet food which will attract wasps and encourage to nest nearby
  • Pick up any fallen fruit
  • Do not leave open soft drink or beer cans unattended, wasps may fly in and sting you as you drink from the can.
  • Sealing any holes in building walls.

NEVER disturb a European Wasp nest - even in winter. You can be attacked and painfully stung multiple times.

Controlling European Wasps

The only way to control European Wasps is to destroy their nest. Follow the advice below to destroy European Wasp nests.

Location Responsibility Contact/Action

 Your Property

The resident

Contact a licensed pest controller to remove the nest. The only way to control European wasps is to destroy their nests, which needs to be undertaken by a licensed pest controller.

Your Neighbour’s Property Your neighbour

Speak to the property owner about your observations. Direct them to this page for information.

If the problem continues, contact Council

Council Property Council Contact Council
Power Pole United Energy Notify United Energy
Telecommunications Pit The telecommunications company that owns the pit Report the nest to the faults line of the telecommunications company

Getting Stung by a European Wasp

Seek medical advice if a European Wasp sting inflames areas of skin around the site of the sting or swelling or redness appear to spread or the area appears to be infected.

For more information about insect bites and stings:

More information

More information on European Wasps: