How we are responding to COVID-19 (coronavirus)
Find out more
Skip to main content

Pests are common in urban environments and can become a nuisance in our community without the appropriate prevention and control. Property owners are responsible for the eradication of pests on their own private property. Information on the management of specific pests can be found below.


On occasion, particularly during the warmer weather, bees may form a colony, or 'beard', outside of the hive. This is their way of trying to get cool and can be quite frightening due to their size and the amount of bees present. Bees at this time of year can also relocate their nest and will go into a resting phase for approximately two days. Generally during these situations, the bee colony is not aggressive as they are trying to protect the queen.

Bee removal - private property

If you have a bee colony on your property that is causing a nuisance, you will need to call an apiarist who may come and collect the bees or a pest controller to remove/destroy the bees. Council do not provide this service.

Bee removal - council land

The City of Holdfast Bay will remove bees from council land if it has been identified that the bees are causing a risk to public health and safety.

Our Pest contractors will attempt to relocate the bees without destroying them. However, at times this may be difficult and destruction is the only option.

Please note, if the bees are swarming but have not settled into a hive (clump) for at least 48 hours, we cannot arrange for their removal as this is likely to be a temporary hive to protect the queen bee.

Bees that have formed a hive at a safe height i.e. high up in a tree, may not be removed as generally, this does not pose a health/safety risk.

If you have any questions or concerns about our services please contact one of our Environmental Health Officers.

European Wasps

European wasps are attracted to sweet food/ drink and meat.

If left undisturbed, the European wasp is not aggressive to humans or other animals. They may, however, become aggressive when their nest is disturbed, releasing a chemical that signals the other wasps to defend their nest. Unlike bees, wasps can sting multiple times.

European wasp removal - private property

Council will not remove wasps from private property. Please refer to the Yellow Pages or other resources to locate the contact details of a pest control company that will remove wasps for a fee.

Wasp removal - council land

The City of Holdfast Bay will remove wasps from council land if it has been identified that the wasps are causing a risk to public health and safety. Please call our Customer Service.

What does a European wasp look like?

The keys features of a European Wasp are:

  • Bright black and yellow body.
  • Triangular markings on its abdomen.
  • Yellow legs.

The nests are commonly in the ground, however can sometimes be located above ground - inside a wall/tree cavity or attached to a solid structure. The size of the nest is approximately the size of a football.


  • Keep pools covered.
  • Avoid leaving pet food out.
  • Do not leave fallen fruit or scraps in the yard.
  • Ensure your rubbish has a tight-fitting lid.
  • Cover exposed food at picnics.

Common signs of rat activity are rat droppings, partially eaten food (e.g. half eaten fruit and empty snail shells), gnawing, burrows and greasy rub marks along pathways (commonly the fence line).

How to remove rats from your property:

To reduce the rat activity you need to deprive the rodents of food, water and shelter; coupled with rat baiting and or trapping.

Some simple steps you can take:

  • Place all food scraps in a container with a close fitting lid. If compost bins are used, keep the base of the bin clear of any vegetation and don't throw meat or dog faeces into the compost bin.
  • Keep fowl yards clear of all waste products.
  • Keep poultry and animal food in metal bins with tight fitting lids.
  • Where there are fruit and nut trees, regularly clean up any fallen fruit or nuts

Mosquitoes are generally a nuisance insect, however, in some regions can carry diseases. Fortunately, in the Holdfast Bay area, the disease carriers have not been detected.

The most effective way to control mosquito populations is to eliminate breeding sites. Mosquitoes like to breed in stagnant and undisturbed water bodies. Therefore it is important that stagnant water bodies, such as the base of pot plants, bird baths and ponds are emptied or water replenished on a regular basis to prevent mosquito breeding. Mosquitoes will not breed in chlorinated waters, for example, swimming pools, or well stocked fish ponds as the fish will consume the mosquito larvae before they hatch.

In addition to eliminating breeding sites, people can protect themselves from mosquito bites by implementing self-protection measures. These may include:

• Wear loose fitting light coloured clothing that covers the majority of the body.
• Use insect repellent sprays, coils, candles or similar products.
• Fit insect screens (1mm) to all windows and entry points on your home.

Swooping Birds

At the beginning of spring, swooping birds can be a problem for bike riders and joggers. The birds swoop to protect their eggs. It is best to avoid these areas for six weeks until the birds do not feel threatened.

Contact an Environmental Health Officer