A year after Mallakuta was nearly destroyed by summer wildfires, the East Gippsland resort area faced another threat: wasps.
Many local residents of Mallacoota say that European wasps have become a serious problem. Residents noticed many nests in the ground, and some reported that insects terrorized them, especially when they eat outside.
Mallakuta beekeeper Gerard Berger said he saw more wasps this summer than in the 14 years he has lived in the coastal town.
“I’ve never seen anything like this in Mallacoot,” he said.
Berger said wasps were attracted to food, especially when people ate outside in warm weather. “They harass people.”
His colleague Martin Asher has already tried to eradicate introduced European wasps in the area and until recently believed that they were almost completely destroyed.
“We almost killed them all, and then we had a fire,” he said. “After the fires, they just returned to take revenge.”
Mr. Asher suggested that shrinking food sources in the bush could push wasps to further penetrate residential areas in search of “resources.”
“They everywhere. Everyone complained about them this year. ”
Keith Prendergast, an environmental entomologist at Curtin University, said more research needs to be done before it can be proven whether the wildfires affected the wasp population in East Gippsland.