A warning sign in front of a European wasp nest near the Haley St entrance to Strathbogie’s Bridge to Bridge Reserve.

There are sure to be other European wasp nests in Strathbogie’s Bridge to Bridge Reserve. However, this is only the second one to have been unearthed alongside the track itself – at least, that I know of. The previous one was discovered during mowing. The result of running over it was an eruption of furious buzzing as an instant, hundreds strong,  wasp cyclone spiralled out of the nest and attacked me and the mower. The stings took several weeks to get over. I had to extract the still idling mower with a lasso before the wasp storm-cloud would leave it alone.

Funny story. I was working with a devoted Bridge to Bridge companion on that first occasion, Charles O’Connor. I was hooting and hollering, I had wasps on my face, in an ear, in my hair, under my collar, I can tell you I was dancing a fine old jig. Charles was looking at me non plussed. He didn’t realise what had happened. Then, just as I seemed to have beaten off the worst of the attack and started calming down, Charles started hooting and hollering and jumping up and down. As he started stripping off his pants and dancing the same jig as me I thought, “Oh no, they have gone for Charles!” Well, in my opinion, it turned out he hadn’t fared so badly. Mind you, he probably didn’t think so at the time. Charles had a bull-ant down his pants biting him on the backside. Neither of us could believe our bad luck.

Fortunately, this time the European wasp nest was spotted and a warning sign erected before any harm was done. As Bridge to Bridge is part of the Seven Creeks Wildlife Reserve, Parks Vic will come to destroy it.

If anyone spots a European wasp nest on public land it is worth contacting the relevant authority to organise its destruction. If the summers up here continue to get warmer and the winter shorter we are likely to be seeing many more of this highly aggressive, invasive and painful (believe me) pest.