Macao paper wasp eradication program

​​The Macao paper wasp is a large social wasp that is exotic to the Cocos (Keeling) Islands and mainland Australia.

The wasp was found on the island in 2015 and is currently under an eradication program which is being funded by the Australian Government Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, with in-kind assistance from the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, Western Australia.

It is important that we try to get rid of these wasps because they are a social nuisance and can impact the local environment.

Regular surveillance for the wasp is conducted on Cocos (Keeling), Home, West, Horsburgh and Directions islands. 

More than 260 nests on these islands have been treated with approved insecticides to kill all life stages.

What residents and visitors can do to help with eradication

It is really important that people living on or visiting these islands are vigilant to the Macao paper wasp. If they spot any wasps or their nests, they need to call the local pest controller, Jack Clunies-Ross.  He can be contacted by calling (08) 9162 7793.

If you do spot any wasps or their nest, do not approach them in case you disturb them.

Also, if you are moving goods off any of these islands, you need to make sure that there are no wasps or nests on the goods or vessels.  We need to prevent this wasp from getting to the mainland.

If you do think you have seen this wasp on the mainland, you need to call the national Exotic Plant Pest Hotline urgently, on 1800 084 881.

About the Macao paper wasp

Macao paper wasps are up to 24 millimetres long, deep yellow in colour with yellow antennae and legs.

They look like native paper wasps which also live in the Cocos (Keeling) Islands but are bigger and form larger nests than native wasps.

These wasps have a painful sting, and are more aggressive than native wasps. They will defend their nest aggressively.

Macao paper wasps build large papery honeycomb nests in trees and on houses.

Sometimes these nests contain several hundred wasps and can be up to 50 centimetres across.

More information

You can get more information about Macao paper wasp, including detailed photos, on the Pest and Disease Image Library.