City removes over 2500 invasive wasp nests

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 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 their available capacity, to ensure their safety and peace of mind.

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