We were recently called to a home by a client in Mundubbera with an interesting pest problem.
After experiencing power outages, an electrician was called to investigate. In addition to some unlicenced wiring found in the meter box, the electrician also found some strange material surrounding the wiring, similar to cotton wool, with small insects flying around that looked similar to bees.
The home owner called Amalgamated Pest Control in to treat the pests before the electrician could continue his work. Once the power was switched off completely, we removed the insects and the nesting material, bagged it and took it off the premises.
While the insects were noticed early enough that they hadn’t caused any wiring or other damage, the nesting material itself could have easily caused a fire, as it was wrapped around the dodgy electrical wiring in the meter box. As it was an old, timber-clad home down, this would have been disastrous.
What exactly were they?
The insects found in the nest were African native ‘Carder’ bees (Afranthidium repetitum), an introduced species that has been here in Australia since around 2000. They are often referred to as ‘meter box carder bees’, as they are often found in the meter box on the outside of homes. Sightings are still not very common in Australia, but they do range from Queensland to Victoria. As they can make their nests quite inconspicuously inside boxes and containers, they are easily transportable without anyone knowing they are inside.
While these bees don’t build a hive as other bees do, they lay their eggs inside the cotton-wool type nesting material (built from plant fibres), which hatch and emerge from the nest, as they did from within the bag we removed from the clients home.
Carder bees can sting when agitated, so they are best left to the experts to deal with.
The somewhat unique nest and the distinctive narrow stripes on the abdomen are their easiest identifier.
If you suspect you have a pest problem, even if you don’t know what it is, we will! Here at Amalgamated we even have a fully qualified entomologist on staff to help with the tricky ones.
Call us today on 4199 6241 to inspect and treat your home or business for unwanted pests!