The European wasp pest problems are greater in newly invaded
places, like Australia, rather than in its home country like Europe. This is
for two reasons:
When the wasp invades new countries, it leaves behind all of its
old enemies such as predators and parasites.
The European winter temperatures are much colder than those experienced in
Australia. Only European wasp queens survive the European winter, meaning that
each year, the wasp nest begins with a single individual. In Australia, the
temperatures are such that the worker European wasps can survive the winter.
This means that if a new queens remains in her old nest, the nest does not
begin with a single individual, but with a new queen and several thousand
workers. These nests are called "overwintering" nests and by summer may have
increased in size to house over 100,000 worker wasps.
The European wasp is attracted to sweet substances including
honey. Hence a battle with the owners of honeycomb : bees, often results. Also
found around humans due to our love of sweets: lollies, soft drinks etc.
The greatest health risk posed by European wasps is if stung in
the mouth or back of the throat. The soft tissue in these areas will
immediately swell and may cause breathing difficulties. For this reason, we
recommend that you NEVER drink directly from a can or bottle outdoors. The same
wasp can sting repeatedly as opposed to a bee which can only sting once.