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Wasp termination supplies in Orange running low, and the little blighters are taking full advantage

A European wasp from Victoria. Wiki Commons.

By Peter Holmes

The European wasps are having a time of it in Orange.

Zipping about, exploring crevices in the brickwork or the eaves. Trying to turn your home into their home.

As far as flying critters go, they're reasonably friendly if left alone, but they can still be erratic.

When you think of the size of a wasp's brain, this is not surprising. There can't be a lot happening in there.

Still, I want them gone, so I phone around. One professional outfit will wipe away the wasp problem, but it will set me back more than $200.

So I head to Bunnings.

The company's website says I should make a beeline for aisle 30, bay 3, for the wasp wipeout section.

I'm looking for a wasp trap I've seen online, but they only have fly traps available.

A staff member with an enthusiastic grasp on the insect situation hereabouts says the wasp traps are no longer available as they not only attract and kill wasps, but honeybees.

The fly traps are no use, however, as whatever it is that lures the fly does nothing to impress the wasp.

There is an organic cruelty-free type of arrangement on the shelf at Bunnings, but the reviews online are almost all one-star bad, saying things such as "it didn't catch any wasps".

Standing in aisle 30 at bay 3 I turn to Google. It suggests I make my own trap, using cordial, bits of meat and a dash of liquid detergent, so I spend about $4 on two pots and two pot trays and head back to the office to try and concoct a trap.

To sticky Fruit Cup cordial I add a few morsels of Woolies (now-$11) roast chook and a dash of washing up liquid.

The idea is that it will attract the wasps, who will become stuck in the sticky solution. Alas, it does nothing to attract the wasps, even though a number of them fly close.

Maybe they know something is afoot.

Inside Bunnings I happen upon The Orange News Examiner's reporter David Fitzsimons. He tells me of an aerosol wasp spray can that unleashes a forceful jet of poison capable of reaching about six metres, thus allowing the hunter and the prey to remain nicely separated when it all goes down.

Bunnings has no such spray on the shelf.

I hit the phones and ring the type of businesses that might sell wasp spray.

There is no wasp spray available. One store proprietor says there has been a run on wasp spray.

Everybody must be after it. Are wasp sprays the new toilet rolls? Please tell me people aren't stockpiling.

Ending up at IGA on Peisley Street, I study the aerosol cans of insect spray. Each one has silhouetted images of the insects it kills.

I find one with a wasp on the side. But it has no six-metre arc of safety.

I buy a can and concoct a plan.

I'll wait until dark, when the wasps go quiet for the night, and then sneak up on the crevices and blast the gaps with all I've got.

And then run.

I do this, and eagerly await morning.

Morning comes and the wasps have taken what I threw at them and laughed in my face. They have won the battle, but not the war.



"European wasps are native to Europe, Northern Africa and parts of Asia. But hibernating queens stowed unintentionally in ships or trucks can colonise new areas, and this is how they arrived in Australia," academic website The Conversation stated in a 2020 story.

"They were first discovered in Tasmania in 1959, and by the 1970s had reached mainland Australia. Today, European wasps are found in every state and territory, and are considered an agricultural, urban and environmental pest."

The story said that European wasps have no predators (other than humans) in Australia.

"Although they are typically most active in late summer and autumn, Australia’s warmer climate means not all European wasp queens hibernate over winter as they do in Europe.

"This allows some wasp colonies to build 'super nests' of up to 100,000 individuals.

"European wasps are commonly encountered in urban areas and, unlike bees, can sting multiple times. They also release a pheromone when threatened that quickly attracts more wasps.


"So if you bother a nest, you may have to contend with the whole hive."


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