European wasps (Danger at Mt Field)

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European wasps (Danger at Mt Field)

Postby tasadam » Fri 28 Mar, 2008 10:30 am

I went to Mt Field West over Easter.
Saturday we went up to Tarn Shelf then around Newdegate Pass to K Col. Sunday we climbed Mt Field West then out.

On the way out, we found a few new signs. Then at the sign-in book we found a note.

It seems that some poor walkers had a more uncomfortable time than us.

Image

Image

In case anyone has trouble reading that,
There is a wasp nest on the track between Lake Seal and Lake Webster. They are extremely aggressive and swarm, bite, and chase people. Several people got bitten dozens of times yesterday, with one person having an allergic reaction and being air-lifted out.
DON'T GO THERE.


We were on the other side of Newdegate Pass when we heard the helicopter, but didn't see it. Once we saw the 1st sign we figured it out. The note confirmed.

Here's hoping for a particularly bitterly cold winter, to wipe the buggers out a bit.
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Re: Danger at Mt Field

Postby johnw » Fri 28 Mar, 2008 10:57 am

The walk from Lake Dobson to Mt Field West (out and back) is another on my "to do" list for impending trip. The circuit described in the sketch map was going to be a backup option in case of bad weather higher up etc. Might have to reconsider that unless the wasps have gone by the end of next month. :(

Thanks for posting this info Tasadam.

Kind regards,
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Re: Danger at Mt Field

Postby Son of a Beach » Fri 28 Mar, 2008 11:00 am

I wonder if they've identified the actual entrance to the wasp nest. The nests are exceedingly easy to destroy if you can actually identify the hole the wasps are going in/out of. You apply a tiny amount of the right insecticide in the evening when the wasps are tucked in for the night, and early the next day, the the entire nest is dead.

I guess you have to consider other consequences of these strong insecticides in a national park, though.
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Re: Danger at Mt Field

Postby Joe » Fri 28 Mar, 2008 11:29 am

Did others spot the nest on the track into lees? just after pine hut in hole in middle of track.
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Re: Danger at Mt Field

Postby Son of a Beach » Fri 28 Mar, 2008 11:39 am

taswaterfalls.com wrote:Did others spot the nest on the track into lees? just after pine hut in hole in middle of track.


Yes, I saw it on the way in... smack bang in the middle of the track. Oddly enough, though, I was specifically looking out for it on the way out, to make sure I avoided it, but I didn't see it on the way out (although there were still plenty of wasps in the area). Nasty critters!
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Re: Danger at Mt Field

Postby PeterJ » Fri 28 Mar, 2008 5:12 pm

The Mt Field park staff have advised that the wasps have been destroyed.

Here is hoping for lots of very cold nights to knock the numbers down elsewhere.
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Re: Danger at Mt Field

Postby Son of a Beach » Fri 28 Mar, 2008 5:45 pm

That's good news! Thanks for the update, Peter.
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Re: Danger at Mt Field

Postby Joe » Fri 28 Mar, 2008 6:03 pm

perhaps mr gorbs could have a word in one of the lees ear about taking some killer with them next trip up that way to rid us of another nest?
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Re: Danger at Mt Field

Postby tasadam » Fri 28 Mar, 2008 7:49 pm

PeterJ wrote:The Mt Field park staff have advised that the wasps have been destroyed.
Yeah, for where it was and the numbers they get there, I couldn't imagine it taking them long to fix that problem, particularly after having to fly someone out.
I thought I might be too late with my photos.
Interesting, though, that wasps can be such a threat, handy to keep the antihistamines in the 1st aid kit...
And the you-beaut pain killers.
I got stung 3 times once, imagine dozens? Nah. Bad thought.
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Re: Danger at Mt Field

Postby walkinTas » Fri 28 Mar, 2008 11:59 pm

Very cold weather will kill off the workers, but not the queen. Queens survive European winters which are much colder than those experienced in Tasmania.

European wasps have two nasty practices that make them dangerous. Firstly, they can sting repeatedly. Secondly, when you fight back they secret a pheromone that attracts their mates. Basically they call in the backup team. So if you do fight off a wasp, don't hang about too long. You should seek medical advice asap if stung more than 10 times.

If you have an allergic reaction to a wasp sting, then you should be very careful in the future, because you may well experience a severe reaction to subsequent stings. If you think you are likely to experience a severe reaction you should probably talk to a doctor about appropriate medication you can carry with you (self-injectable adrenalin) if you are going to be walking a long way from help.
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Re: Danger at Mt Field

Postby tasadam » Sat 29 Mar, 2008 7:20 am

walkinTas wrote:... If you think you are likely to experience a severe reaction you should probably talk to a doctor about appropriate medication you can carry with you (self-injectable adrenalin) if you are going to be walking a long way from help.

Good info there. How do you learn so much about wasps?
A bit like Jack jumpers? A friend of mine carries an epi-pen and stuff because of jj.

Me thinks to myself... Plan to kill wasps using their backup pheromone as a weapon against them...
Find wasps. From a distance, dress in your bee keeping gear.
Fight back a few until the swarms come.
Then, out with the fly spray...

Drop in the ocean, like wizzing in the wind I suppose.
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Re: Danger at Mt Field

Postby Joe » Sat 29 Mar, 2008 7:25 am

even bee keeping gear wont help you much...wherever it touches skin you can still get stings. In full bee keeping regalia I still got about 10 or so small stings. Did manage to get a nice photo of the whole bee keeping experience though so made it all worthwhile :)

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Re: Danger at Mt Field

Postby tasadam » Sat 29 Mar, 2008 8:05 am

taswaterfalls.com wrote:...even bee keeping gear wont help you much

Maybe this guy was on to something...
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Needs refining, though. 97 pounds is a bit heavy. A bit gappy, too.
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Re: Danger at Mt Field

Postby walkinTas » Sat 29 Mar, 2008 1:32 pm

tasadam wrote:
walkinTas wrote:... If you think you are likely to experience a severe reaction you should probably talk to a doctor about appropriate medication you can carry with you (self-injectable adrenalin) if you are going to be walking a long way from help.

Good info there. How do you learn so much about wasps?
A bit like Jack jumpers? A friend of mine carries an epi-pen and stuff because of jj.


You are right - exactly like Jack Jumpers! Any bushwalker who has one bad allergic reaction to bees, ants, and wasp should talk to their doctor about the need to carry an epi-pen. Apparently somewhere around 2% to 3% of the population have had generalised allergic reactions and each sting makes them more sensitized to an allergic reaction. So once you have one generalised allergic reaction, the next time you are stung may be worst than the previous allergic reaction. The condition is called anaphylaxis and it can be very serious. My brother has an anaphylactic reaction to some sea food. Poor sod can't eat crayfish, scallops or ousters.

Some Science: My insect studying days are old history now, but a quick refresher suggests that stinging insects belong to the order Hymenoptera. In this order there are three families of interest to Tasmanians: aphidae (long-tongued bees), vespidae (hornets & wasps) and formicidae (ants). I couldn't find a definitive list anywhere on the Internet, but honey bees, bumble bees, English and European wasp, bull dog ants and Jack Jumpers are all examples.

Did a little bit of Googling!
[*]This DPIW Site explains that there are two nearly identical Vespula wasps in Tassie. I didn't know that!
[*]This health site talks of four deaths in Tassie from "jack jumper" bites between 1980 and 1999.
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Re: Danger at Mt Field

Postby Son of a Beach » Sat 29 Mar, 2008 2:43 pm

Apart from anaphylactic shock itself, what can an allergic reaction to these stings consist of?

Obviously there is pain and at least a small bump spot whether your alergic or not, and later itching. How much swelling is considered normal, and how much swelling would it take before it would be classified as allergic? Are there any other symptoms in an allergic reaction that do not occur for non-allergic people?

Eg, I get a small amount of localised swelling for jack jumper or bee stings (eg, swollen foot, or ankle). I've never been stung by a wasp, and haven't been stung by anything for many years. I don't consider this to be an allergic reaction, but I don't really know for sure.
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Re: Danger at Mt Field

Postby walkinTas » Sat 29 Mar, 2008 2:58 pm

The Allergy Capital site and the ASCIA site probably answer your question Nic. Swelling, even large local swelling might be expected, but the more severe reactions are of concern.

"Individuals who have had a rash or large local swelling alone have a less than 1 in 10 chance of developing serious allergic reactions with further stings. Immunotherapy is not indicated." (ASCIA - http://www.allergy.org.au, March 2008).

"More severe allergic reactions can also occur, a condition known as anaphylaxis. Symptoms may include an all-over rash, swelling of tongue or throat, trouble breathing, gut cramps, diarrhoea, vomiting or even a drop in blood pressure." (Allergy Capital - http://www.allergycapital.com.au, March 2008).

"Stings from jumper ants, like those of bees and wasps, are very painful. Local swelling is very common. Large local swellings can also occur, lasting a few days at a time. The most serious reactions are known as generalised allergic reactions, of which the most severe is called anaphylaxis." (Allergy Capital - http://www.allergycapital.com.au, March 2008).

I think any one of the generalised symptoms would be a sufficient to go and talk to your doctor.
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Re: Danger at Mt Field

Postby PeterJ » Sat 29 Mar, 2008 3:17 pm

Son of a Beach wrote:........ what can an allergic reaction to these stings consist of?


I know a few people that have anaphylactic reactions and in the adults at least they all feel pretty dam crook as a whole, not just pain in the area of the bite. A friend got a jackjumper bite a couple of months ago and I thought he was about to faint. He had to lie down and took about 20 minutes to recover sufficiently o walk out. This was the first time he had a reaction was was not a sever case at all, but has been advised to go on the treatment programme in case of future bites.
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Re: Danger at Mt Field

Postby corvus » Sat 29 Mar, 2008 6:12 pm

G'day All,
Growing up with these damn pest I dont fear them and would advise members to 1 ignore them 2 avoid them 3 give them the clap ie let one get within you grasp and CLAP (works for me every time) but take care.I did inform parks about the Wasps on the track to Lees but got no serious reply .
Must get info as the correct poison to take into the Paddocks next time and whoever from the forum can help erradicate the buggers.
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Re: Danger at Mt Field

Postby norts » Sat 29 Mar, 2008 6:40 pm

There is also a wasp nest on the Arm River Track nearly at the top of the very steep section. Its in the base of a tree right on the track. Saw it today.

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Re: Danger at Mt Field

Postby Son of a Beach » Sat 29 Mar, 2008 8:51 pm

corvus wrote:Must get info as the correct poison to take into the Paddocks next time and whoever from the forum can help erradicate the buggers.


There are two powder poisons that I know of for wasp and jack jumper nests. One is vegetable based (maybe pyrethrin?), and fairly harmless to the humans and animals, so far as I know. However, it can take a few days to kill everything in the nest and may need to be re-applied a couple of times.

The other one is also a powder, and I've no idea of it's name or composition. I've borrowed it from my neighbours a few times. It is (so the neighbours warn me) toxic to people, and therefore to animals, I presume. However, it kills the entire nest in one night. I sprinkle a small amount at the entrance to the nest (where the wasps/ants are likely to land on it or crawl over it), during the evening or night (both wasps and jack jumpers stay in theirs nests all night), and the next time I look at the nest the next day, there is no activity at all, and they all appear to be dead. I've only once had to re-apply it to a jack jumper nest, but that was a nest that had several entrances, including one that I'd missed.

I've also tried using petrol. It's a lot more fun, but not as reliable, and has it's own element of risk.
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Re: Danger at Mt Field

Postby flyfisher » Sat 29 Mar, 2008 9:24 pm

Nick ,petrol works fine for jack jumpers ,the secret being not to light it ,but let the fumes do the job.This way the ones returning to the nest will die as well.

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Re: Danger at Mt Field

Postby flyfisher » Sat 29 Mar, 2008 9:35 pm

There is also a product called WASP AND NEST KILLER made in Aus, by next generation aerosols .The blurb on the can says it has a 4 metre jet which kills wasps on contact ,but advises spraying on nests in morning or evening. It says it will kill the entire population.

I got it from Bunnings Hardware in Hobart

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Re: Danger at Mt Field

Postby corvus » Sat 29 Mar, 2008 9:45 pm

As an interesting aside we had a Bulldog Ants nest at the edge of our front yard last year and I thought it would be interesting to offer them " my clapped European wasps " as gift at nest enterance .They were were accepted with alacrity with a request for more :) so we thought we would try fresh blowfies !!
Put blowflies into nest ,next few seconds worker Ant exits nest with fly in jaws and deposits same at least 2m from nest ,
it is obvious that BF are only in the food chain of Frogs ,Lizards and perhaps some birds and that we should nurture our native Ants who may in the long term reduce the Wasp problem. :)
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Re: Danger at Mt Field

Postby tas-man » Mon 31 Mar, 2008 11:50 am

Have just got back from 9 days in SW Tassie over Easter and catching up on my email. One thing I noticed was the presence of european wasps ALL ALONG the south coast tracks and ranges. There was a BIG nest of them just along from the Bouy Creek Campsite at the obvious spot to dip your mug for water. Fortunately they were mainly a problem on the three fine days we had - the six wet ones we had the outdoors to ourselves, but were either not standing around for long, or zipped up inside our tents. But even in the rain, if you got food out, there would be a wasp around before you got it finished.
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Re: European wasps (Danger at Mt Field)

Postby bluewombat » Thu 10 Apr, 2008 7:42 pm

Unfortunately wasps are likely to become a bigger and bigger problem in wilderness areas, there are few/no natural predators and it is unlikely that Parks will be able to control them. The situation in areas of New Zealand is even worse. I did the Travers Sabine circuit 12 months back and everywhere in the beech forest there was a significant background humming noise. Took me a while to realise that is was being created by vast numbers of wasps. Everyone in our party was stung at some stage during the walk. The little blighters were rampant
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Re: European wasps (Danger at Mt Field)

Postby corvus » Thu 10 Apr, 2008 8:36 pm

Lets do a massive email protest to Parks ,Forestry ,State and Local Government about this pest and as individuals carry a container of "wasp dust" if that's what its called to known nest areas ,they are almost at plague proportions now and we need to know how we can eradicate the Queen as she survives over winter .
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Re: European wasps (Danger at Mt Field)

Postby PeterJ » Fri 11 Apr, 2008 2:52 pm

corvus wrote:Lets do a massive email protest to Parks ,Forestry ,State and Local Government about this pest and as individuals carry a container of "wasp dust" if that's what its called to known nest areas ,they are almost at plague proportions now and we need to know how we can eradicate the Queen as she survives over winter .



It would be interesting to know if there are plans say by Govt agencies to attempt any eradication or control action. Does anyone know the situation?
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Re: European wasps (Danger at Mt Field)

Postby scockburn » Sat 12 Apr, 2008 7:45 pm

Just returned from the Overland track and there were a few European Wasps about . No swarms but one of our party was stung several times in a popular area on the track , Pelion Gap at the start of the track up to Ossa. No major hassle though. The ranger said there were heaps about . Steve c
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Re: European wasps (Danger at Mt Field)

Postby ashlee » Tue 07 Jul, 2009 10:19 am

corvus wrote:Lets do a massive email protest to Parks ,Forestry ,State and Local Government about this pest and as individuals carry a container of "wasp dust" if that's what its called to known nest areas ,they are almost at plague proportions now and we need to know how we can eradicate the Queen as she survives over winter .



I'm keen!
We need to reduce the numbers dramatically. They seem to get worse each yeah and if we leave it we won't be able to step out of our homes in summer!
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Re: European wasps (Danger at Mt Field)

Postby Tas@Heart » Tue 07 Jul, 2009 10:41 pm

Hi. First post so I hope it is useful.
I've used Derris Dust type powders for years (cabbage dust). Look for a chemical called Rotenone on the label. Kills the lot within 36 hours. Guaranteed. Everytime. Just drop a good sprinke over where they land/enter ; after dusk when they have gone to bed. If you are keen, load it up during the day (quietly...recommend wearing a cloak of invisibility) and the job is done the next morning.
If they are in a wall cavity build a little platform for them to use then nuke 'em.
Rule of thumb where I live is if you see more than 1 wasp there is a nest within 100m.
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