INDIGO Shire Council has made an unallocated budget provision of $12,000 to fund a shared community and council campaign in an attempt to limit European wasp incursions in summer and autumn.
The wasps have become a significant problem, particularly in Yackandandah and Beechworth, and in recent years have disrupted dining and worried café owners, restaurateurs and hoteliers offering outdoor eating.
Indigo Valley councillor Diane Shepheard raised concerns about the pest with the council in May.
She said at the time that wasps might be considered a small matter but were challenging people’s enjoyment of outdoor living and business.
The council previously has made $500 per year available to eliminate wasp and wild bee hives on council-managed land, but in recent years this had increased to about $1500.
Indigo natural resources co-ordinator Jenny Pena told the council that European wasp colonies in Australia could remain active for 10 months, compared with seven months in temperate European countries.
“This means that even conventional annual colonies in Australia tend to be larger,” she advised.
She said studies showed an Australian colony could have 11,000 workers in a single nest comprising up to 60,000 cells – four times bigger than in Europe.
The council’s $12,000 will be used to help community groups with wasp baiting programs and provide useful information for residents, who remain responsible for managing wasp colonies on their land.
Current research shows that fixed bait stations are the most effective method to reduce the incidence of wasps.