On 3 September 2018, the National Biosecurity Management Group, comprising representatives from all Australian governments, determined that Macao Paper Wasp (Polistes olivaceus) was not technically feasible to eradicate from the Cocos (Keeling) Islands under the National Environmental Biosecurity Response Agreement.
The wasp has been subject to an eradication program since it was first detected in April 2015 on Home, Direction and Horsburgh Islands. The two year program encountered difficulties inconsistent with evidence from previous wasp infestations outside Australia, including an ability to breed rapidly and colonise dense forest. Many islands in the group are densely forested and challenging to access, which has made it difficult to effectively locate, delimit, treat and contain the wasp.
The Department of Infrastructure, Regional Development and Cities will lead the continued on-going management of the wasp on the Cocos (Keeling) Islands.
The Macao Paper Wasp is a large, social wasp that is exotic to Australia. It is deep yellow in colour with yellow antennae and legs. The wasp poses a significant risk to social amenity due to its painful sting and aggressive nature.
If you think you may have seen this wasp on the mainland of Australia or Christmas Island, you need to call the national Exotic Plant Pest Hotline urgently on 1800 084 881.
Further information regarding Macao Paper Wasp can be found on the Outbreak website.