Cape Town Invasives News

City warns invasive wasps are back this summer

City warns invasive wasps are back this summer

MEDIA RELEASE: 5 October 2015

 

The City’s Invasive Wasp Control (IWC) Project are gearing up to deal with the spring invasion of invader wasps as they wake up from their winter dormancy.  Wasp season usually occurs during warmer days, from October to May. Since the launch of the IWC Project in 2014, they have removed 8 000 European paper wasp nests, mostly from areas such as Durbanville, Kuils River, Brackenfell, Kraaifontein and Bellville. Read more below:

With the onset of spring, the invasive European paper wasps and the German wasps that plagued residents last summer are starting to re-emerge.

The City of Cape Town’s specialised Invasive Wasp Control (IWC) Project, who are part of the Environmental Resource Management Department’s Green Jobs Unit, are ready to assist with the control of the invasive wasps.

To date, the IWC teams have removed 8 000 European paper wasp nests, mostly from the core areas of infestation such as Durbanville, Kuils River, Brackenfell, Kraaifontein and Bellville. European paper wasp nests were removed from homes in Bothasig, Ottery, Plumstead, Constantia, Woodstock, Athlone and Wetton, which indicates that the invasion is increasing.


What does the law say?

Both alien invasive wasp species, the European paper wasp (Polistes dominula) and the German wasp (Vespula germanica), are listed as a Category 1b invasive species in the Alien and Invasive Species Regulations, National Environmental Management Biodiversity Act (No 10 of 2004). This means that scientists have agreed that the wasps have to be removed by law as they pose a threat to the local ecosystem and several important industries such as deciduous fruit, wine and beekeeping industries.

 

Potential risk to humans

Cape Town residents are advised to be aware that the sting from these wasps is particularly painful. Last season there were numerous reports of the German wasp stinging workers harvesting grapes and other fruit. The wasps also present a hazard to residents who may unintentionally disturb a colony.

 

Removing invasive wasps

The IWC Project was launched in October 2014 with the objective of reducing the invasive European paper wasp population in the city.

Last summer, a second team was introduced, following the hundreds of sightings and wasp removal requests by residents.

October is usually the start of wasp season. The wasps have been dormant during winter so as the weather warms up, they will start waking up. Residents are encouraged to report sightings to the City or contact a reputable pest control company. Property owners are primarily responsible for pest control on their premises, and the City will assist according to available capacity. If nests are removed privately, property owners are urged to send a report containing their street address and the number of nests removed to Invasive.Species@capetown.gov.za as this helps with the City’s future planning and research. The City will make every effort to timeously assist the public where possible, within our available capacity, to ensure their safety and peace of mind, said Councillor Van der Merwe.

Residents who would like assistance can upload sightings on the new invasive wasp reporting tool at http://edrr.co.za/. thereafter, your siting will be attended to by our invasive wasp control specialists when they are in your area. Please see the map at http://edrr.co.za/edrr/map/ to see when the specialists visit you area as they only work in specific areas on specific days. When uploading the siting please make the report as complete as possible to eliminate back and forth liaising.

For description of the booking procedures please visit www.capetowninvasives.org.za/news.

Please note: The IWC Project does not have trained staff or the necessary equipment to deal with bee removal. Should residents require a bee removal, they should contact a professional beekeeper. The IWC Project will also not exterminate indigenous wasps.