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Bees and Wasps

Bees and wasps can be a problem in Warrnambool, especially in spring and early summer. European wasps are similar to bees but have conspicuous lemon-yellow banded markings on their black body. They can sting repeatedly and tend to become aggressive when threatened.

Wasp nests

Wasps like to live around people so they are near food and drink. They may build nests under the ground, in walls with holes and in retaining walls. Wasps like sweet food, meat, drinks and moving objects. They are more aggressive than bees and will sting people.

Discourage European wasps

In your backyard:

  • Pick up fallen fruit or food scraps.
  • Clean up leftover pet food or dog bones.
  • Use rubbish bins with tight fitting lids.
  • Cover compost at all times, and 
  • Cover bird baths and fish ponds with fine mesh or shade cloth.

At a picnic or barbecue:

  • Cover food.
  • Pour drink from cans into a glass or use a straw – a wasp could be inside the can, and
  • Wear shoes as stings are often on feet.

Bee swarms

Bees are gentle and usually sting in self-defence. Bees travel in large groups called swarms. A swarm of bees may stay in the one area for up to two or three days and then leave.

If you are worried about a bee swarm, contact an apiarist who is registered with the State Government’s Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources to remove it. Do not move the swarm yourself.

Keeping of beehives

To keep bees in Victoria, you must register with the Department of Primary Industries and comply with the Apiary Code of Practice. There are strict guidelines for keeping bees in Victoria and you should always be mindful that bees can often become a concern for neighbours.

Local Law Number 3 – Environment

  1. No person on their property may without a permit keep or allow to be kept any more than the number of beehives as specified in the Apiary Code of Practice as amended from time to time, (“the Apiary Code”). Penalty: 5 penalty units.
  2. Any person keeping bees within the municipal district must comply with the Apiary Code. Penalty: 5 penalty units.
  3. Any person keeping bees within the municipal district must comply with any direction in writing of an authorised officer to meet the standards prescribed in the Apiary Code, and within the time, if any, specified by the authorised officer. Penalty: 5 penalty units.

For more information about bee keeping contact the Department of Primary Industries on 13 61 86.
Download a copy of the Apiary Code of Practice.

Who is responsible for bee swarms and wasp nests?

Council is not responsible for the eradication of European wasps unless they are on Council or public property but can arrange eradication of nests through a contractor at a cost to the property owner.


Warrnambool City Council
Phone: (03) 5559 4800
Fax: (03) 5559 4900
Email: wbool_city [at] warrnambool [dot] vic [dot] gov [dot] au

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