MEDIA RELEASE: 14 January 2016
More than 2 000 people have accessed the City of Cape Town’s new online wasp reporting application since its official launch in November last year. Since September, the City’s Invasive Wasp Control Project team has removed more than 1 300 nests.
The City’s new online wasp reporting application is gaining popularity as more than 600 wasp reports have been logged via this tool, mostly in January 2016. This user-friendly development tool has made the logging of wasp reports more accessible tomembers of the public, which allows for a quicker response time to have wasps removed.
Interestingly, the data indicates that people across the world, including from the United States of America, Canada, Brazil, the Netherlands, Australia, New Zealand, Namibia and Kenya, have visited the site (www.edrr.co.za/wasps).
The City’s Environmental Resource Management (ERM) Department’s Invasive Wasp Control (IWC) Project, which forms part of its Green Jobs Unit, officially launched its reporting tool in November last year.
According to international cases of invasion involving the European paper and German wasps, these insects have the potential to create problems ranging from being a nuisance to having catastrophic economic impacts in the wine, deciduous fruit, and beekeeping industries.
The German wasp in particular is aggressive and there are several reported cases of them stinging workers harvesting grapes and other fruits. They can present a hazard to people and homeowners enjoying the outdoors who may unintentionally disturb a colony. These wasps also feed on mature grapes in the late summer months and cause extensive damage to vineyards.
They are also known to attack and kill honeybees and infiltrate bee hives, which is detrimental to the honey industry. Wasp season usually occurs during warmer periods, from September to May.
‘We can see that the wasps are spreading across the city. However, since the start of the wasp season, we have removed over 1 300 nests, which is far fewer than the previous corresponding season when 2 500 were removed. Wasps seem to be lower in numbers than usual, likely due to the weather patterns. The City is therefore taking this opportunity to remove as many wasp nests as possible to try and decrease their presence ahead of the warmer days. Residents are encouraged to use the online tool to report wasp sightings so that the nests can be removed as soon as possible.
‘This tool minimises delays in the reporting process, especially considering the high volume of phone calls and e-mails that have been received. By using a simple online tool, the wasp project is now able to find the location of new sightings and confirm the status of these sightings instantly,’ says the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Energy, Environmental and Spatial Planning, Councillor Johan van der Merwe.
The IWC Project controls the invasive European paper and German wasps within City boundaries.
Since its launch, over 9 000 European paper wasp nests have been removed, mostly from the core areas of infestation such as Durbanville, Kuils River, Brackenfell, Kraaifontein and Bellville. European paper wasp nests have also been removed from homes in Somerset West, Gordon’s Bay, Bothasig, Ottery, Plumstead, Constantia, Woodstock, Athlone, Wetton, Parklands, Sunningdale, Pinelands, Newlands and Rondebosch, which indicates that the invasion is spreading to more areas.
If residents wish to use the tool to report an invasive wasp problem, they should visit www.edrr.co.za/wasps and follow the prompts, starting with which species has been spotted. As much detail as possible should be added to the report so that it can be dealt with as efficiently and quickly as possible.
Removal happens on a first-reported, first-response basis and calls are queued according to the order of time reported.
For more information, residents should please visit www.capetowninvasives.org.za or visit www.facebook.com/ctinvasives. For queries or problems uploading wasp reports, residents can send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org with ‘WASPS’ in the subject line.
- 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
- 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, as well as determining the movement of the wasps
The City’s IWC Project does not respond to reports outside the city boundaries, or to indigenous wasp reports, or reports of bees.