Cat food and natural instincts being used to fight European wasps

In a mainland Australian-first, the NSW Department of Primary Industries plans to enlist European wasps to kill European wasps in orchards, vineyards and berry farms.

Entomologist Peter Gillespie said the pilot project aimed to use the wasps’ natural behaviour to manage their populations in areas where they cause problems for workers, tourists and the community.

“European wasps are attracted to meat and sweet food making them a real nuisance near cellar doors and vineyards at harvest when berry sugar is high,” Mr Gillespie said.

“The pilot control project will use sardine-based cat food as a bait to attract wasps using a fly trap. A special permit from the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority allows the use of an insecticide, non-repellent fipronil.

“The dosage of insecticide has been calculated so the worker wasp will die when it returns to the nest then other wasps, including the queen, will cannibalise the dead wasp and ingest fiprinol.”