If you’ve ever been to Europe or the US during summer you will no doubt have noticed the very common yellow and black wasps. I never saw them growing up in Cape Town, but over the last few years the invasive European paper wasp population has seen such rapid growth that the City of Cape Town’s Wasp Control Team can’t keep up with the number requests for removal of nests. This season the city received nearly a 1000 more reports than the previous year and according to a media release the city said that this summer “populations were discovered in Newlands, Constantia, Plumstead, Kenilworth, Claremont, Parklands, Atlantis, Bothasig, Morningstar and, most recently, Hout Bay”.
These are the little guys you need to be looking out for.
That’s the Polistes dominula paper wasp. It’s similar, but less aggressive than the North American yellow jacket.
“CITY OF CAPE TOWN – MEDIA RELEASE – 26 APRIL 2016
City removes over 2 500 invasive wasp nests
During this summer season, the City of Cape Town’s Wasp Control Team has been working relentlessly to deal with the increasing demand for the removal of invasive wasps nests city-wide.
The team has received almost 1 000 more reports than last year.
During the current season, over 2 500 wasp nests have already been removed. As the wasp season draws to an end, residents are encouraged to still report sightings of wasps and their nests, which will assist the team with future planning and action.
As part of the City of Cape Town’s Invasive Species Programme, the Wasp Control Team is making every effort to attend to the increasing number of reports for removals as wasp season comes to an end.
The increase in reports stems from the rapid expansion of the invasive wasp population as well as more residents being aware of the matter.
During the summer of 2014/2015, the City responded to 1 600 reports. For this summer of 2015/2016, over 2 500 reports were received and the reports continue to arrive daily.
The invasive European paper wasp (Polistes dominula) population has expanded rapidly since the establishment of the Invasive Wasp Control Project during the summer of 2014.
This summer, populations were discovered in Newlands, Constantia, Plumstead, Kenilworth, Claremont, Parklands, Atlantis, Bothasig, Morningstar and, most recently, Hout Bay.
The City’s Invasive Species Programme has developed an online reporting tool at www.edrr.co.za with the goal of streamlining the reporting process as well as aiding in the deployment of the project’s resources.
‘This system has been working so well that it has enabled the project to respond to up to four additional reports per day per team, compared with the previous year.
The City wants to sincerely thank residents for reporting wasp nests and activities as it has greatly assisted in mapping the population and will also determine how best to deploy the invasive wasp control resources and manage the problem in the future.
‘While the increase in reporting is very valuable for mapping the wasp population and for the turnaround time for responding to reports, it also puts a lot of pressure on the Invasive Wasp Control Project. The teams have been working six days a week to respond as speedily as possible to the reports.
Additional capacity has also been created in an attempt to contain the invasion and prevent it from spreading to more neighbourhoods. However, despite the unit’s tireless efforts, the City’s teams will unfortunately not be able to attend to all the reports by the end of this season purely due to the sheer number of requests.
‘Residents are, however, still encouraged to continue 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 before the season ends, where possible and within our available capacity, to ensure their safety and peace of mind,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Energy, Environmental and Spatial Planning, Councillor Johan van der Merwe.”
Now you know.