The German yellowjacket, Vespula germanica (F.) (Hymenoptera: Vespidae), was introduced into Australia in 1959 and has established throughout southern Australia. In urban environments, V. germanica is frequently a nuisance pest at public gatherings and to homeowners. In native environments, it has the potential to pose a threat to native invertebrates. The current practice for controlling the wasps is nest destruction with pesticide. However, locating the nest(s) is not always practical or possible. Meat baits impregnated with an insecticide that foraging wasps cut and carry back to the nest offer a means of suppressing wasps where the nest sites are unknown. The success of meat baits depends on the attractiveness and acceptance of the meat to the wasp and the mode of action of the insecticide. Our objective was to determine wasp preference and acceptance of five processed meats: canned chicken or fish and freeze-dried chicken, fish, or kangaroo. We found that more wasps visited and took freeze-dried kangaroo and canned chicken than the other baits. Canned and freeze-dried fish were similarly preferred, and freeze-dried chicken was the least attractive and accepted by foraging wasps. Our findings demonstrate that wasps prefer some processed meats and hence take more loads back to the nest. By combining a suitable insecticide with a meat bait preferred by wasps, the likelihood of effective suppression of nuisance wasp populations should be increased.
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Vol. 99 • No. 2