Introduced insects and other invertebrates in Australia

Introduced insects and other invertebrates that are currently in Australia, and which can have a detrimental impact on the environment, include:

As with other invasive pests, once established across Australia, introduced invertebrates are difficult to eradicate.

Control methods

There are a number of control methods available for invasive insects and other invertebrates. These methods include conventional control techniques and biological control.

Conventional control

Conventional methods of control include pesticide applications and baiting. Baiting programs treating the entire infested area usually need to be supplemented with pesticide applications. Chemical control on its own can be problematic as it generally is not species specific.

Pest strips and other insecticides have been used to control feral honeybee colonies. This is very labour intensive and is not an effective method of controlling or eradicating feral colonies of honeybees over a wide area.

Biological control

Biological control is the control of pests using natural predators, parasites, disease-carrying bacteria or viruses that would normally attack the pest in its country of origin. Any biological control should be used in conjunction with conventional control techniques to manage the damage caused by invasive insects and other invertebrates.

An example of biological control is the use of a parasitic wasp to control the European Wasp. A pest species in Australia, the European Wasp was first recorded in Melbourne in 1977. In 1989, a small parasitic wasp (Spechophaga vesparum), that was discovered overseas, was released in Victoria after stringent testing to make sure that the parasitic wasp would only attack the European Wasp. The parasitic wasp attacks European Wasp nests and feeds on the developing larvae and pupae. The parasitic wasp has helped reduce European Wasp numbers to manageable levels. However, to date, there is no evidence that the parasite wasp has become well established in Victoria.