Wasps, Bees, Flies and Millipedes


The City of Cockburn has been a metropolitan hot spot for European wasps since 2013 when an established nest was found and destroyed in Munster.
Residents should remain vigilant about detecting the declared pest by familiarising themselves with its appearance and their nests, reporting their locations and even volunteering to Adopt a Trap, provided by the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development.

The European wasp looks similar to a common paper wasp, but is slightly smaller (the size of a bee), has black rather than yellow antennae, and builds underground nests.

Since July 2016, 20 nests have been detected and destroyed in the City of Cockburn. More than 400 traps are monitored throughout the City by our teams and the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development. Since the first European wasp was detected in WA 41 years ago, WA has managed to remain relatively free of the pest, despite it being established in South Australia, New South Wales, the Australian Capital Territory, Victoria and Tasmania, and New Zealand.

Please refer to the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development's Wasp Identification Guide for more information.
To Adopt a Trap or report a European wasp sighting, call the Pest and Disease Information Service on 9368 3080, or email [email protected]
For more information on this exotic pest, visit the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development website.

If you are experiencing problems on your property with wasps, other than European Wasps, contact a licensed pest controller to treat the nest.


Why do bees swarm?

Swarming is part of the natural reproduction of bee colonies. If bee swarms are left alone, they will not sting and will generally keep to themselves. In spring or in warm weather, the swarm will leave the hive, and cluster in one place to protect the queen while worker bees search for a new home. In most instances unless there is rain, the swarm will move on to continue the search for a new home.

Take precautions against bees:

  • Do not hose, throw rocks at, or smoke the swarm    
  • Keep children and pets away from the swarm
  • Keep clear of the swarm or cluster
  • Wear suitable footwear outside.

Report a bee swarm or hive

Bee hives on private property are the owner or occupier's responsibility.  If bee hives are on Council-owned land, please contact Parks Services on 08 9411 3444 or at [email protected]
If a bee swarm or hive is causing you problems on private property, it may constitute a nuisance. The City recommends that you try to resolve this directly with the property owner in the first instance, as they may be unaware of any problems. You may also contact Health Services to Report and Investigate it.

To report nuisance bees:

  • Complete a Service Request
  • Keep accurate information and complete a ‘Record of Events’ sheet

Your complaint will be assessed according to the nature of the problem, how often it has occurred and the views of other people affected.

Keeping bees

Residents must obtain written approval from Council or an authorised officer to keep a beehive in a residential area or a resource zone. Residents may keep up to two bee hives on a residential lot. Approval may be granted for more than two hives on a lot that is not zoned residential.

Guidelines for keeping bees

Once approval to keep bees has been granted, a bee hive owners must:

  • keep the hive outside, and at least 10 metres from any building other than a fence
  • keep the hive at least 10 metres from any footpath, street, right of way or public place
  • keep the hive at least five metres from the boundary of the lot
  • ensure the hive is enclosed on all sides by a fence, wall or other enclosure.

Stable flies

Stable flies are blood feeding insects that cause irritation and injury to animals and humans from their bite. Horses are particularly vulnerable to stable fly attack.

They are similar in size and appearance to the common house fly and bush fly, but they have a prominent biting mouthpart.

Stable flies can breed in manure piles, compost heaps, grass clippings, household rubbish and open worm farms.

It is the householder’s responsibility to ensure adequate control measures are in place where potential breeding sites exist including:

  • keeping animal enclosures, (i.e. poultry) clean daily
  • keeping manure in a fly proof bin or container or completely covered to keep dry
  • wrapping food scraps in paper before placing in the bin
  • covering open compost or compost in a compost bin. Maintaining compost systems promotes rapid decomposition of organic matter, this generates heat and makes the pile unsuitable to fly larvae
  • spreading grass clippings thinly over your garden
  • keeping your rubbish bin clean and the lid tightly closed.

Visit the Stable Fly Action Group website for more information.  

Portuguese millipedes

Portuguese millipedes are an introduced species of millipede with a smooth cylindrical body, ranging in colour from black/grey to light brown. They are found in some areas of Cockburn including Coogee and Spearwood.

Portuguese millipedes normally live outdoors where they feed on leaf litter, damp wood, mulch and mosses. They are not harmful to animals or human and do not breed inside homes. However, they can congregate in large numbers and cause property owners some distress when they seek shelter in homes and buildings during spring and autumn rains. 

What can I do to stop Portuguese millipedes?

  • Clean leaf litter and reduce the volume of compost around the home
  • Turn off external lights
  • Apply chemical controls surface sprays and residual chemicals to ground surfaces, walls and door and window frames.  

Chemical millipede control

Surface sprays containing the following ingredients will help deter millipedes entering buildings, when applied to doorsteps and window ledges:

  • Cypermethrin (Mortein)
  • Propoxur (Baygon)
  • Permethrin (Mortein)
  • Bendiocarb (Ficam),
  • Carbaryl (Carbaryl)
  • Cyfluthrin (Baythroid).

Methiocarb (Baysol) snail and slug bait will control millipede populations in garden beds.  Please ensure that snail and slug pellets are used where dogs, cats and children cannot access them.

Please carefully read and comply with the directions for use. The use of residual and broad range chemicals for millipede control may adversely affect other insect populations, including potential predators.

Physical millipede control

These can prevent entry into buildings for millipedes.

These include:

  • smooth vertical surfaces
  • half-round barriers
  • moat and trap systems.
For further information on Portuguese millipedes, see the publication by the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development under Related Documents below.

More information and contact

Please contact Health Services on 08 9411 3444 or at [email protected]. You can also visit the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development website.



City of Cockburn
Whadjuk Boodja
9 Coleville Crescent,
Spearwood 6163

PO Box 1215, Bibra Lake DC,
Western Australia, 6965

Office opening hours:
8.30am to 4.30pm
Monday to Friday (excluding public holidays)

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Cockburn Nyungar moort Beeliar boodja-k kaadadjiny. Koora, yeyi, benang baalap nidja boodja-k kaaradjiny.
Ngalak kaadatj dayin boodja, kep wer malayin. Ngalak kaadatj koora koora wer yeyi ngalang birdiya.

City of Cockburn acknowledges the Nyungar people of Beeliar boodja. Long ago, now and in the future they care for country.
We acknowledge a continuing connection to land, waters and culture and pay our respects to the Elders, past, present and emerging.