Wasp Wipeout: Community Initiative launched

The Nelson Mail and Stuff are today launching Wasp Wipeout, a community-led conservation project that aims to significantly reduce German and common wasp populations in the Nelson-Tasman region this summer. "The wasps' hum, the white noise of the forest, is a constant reminder that they — the foreign invaders — are winning. They are having a devastating impact on our native birds, bats, lizards and insects, exploiting the most valuable food sources of the forest and entirely altering New Zealand's natural biodiversity. These wasps are also a serious threat to people, delivering painful stings that can cause life-threatening allergic reactions and — in extreme cases — death. "The frequency of people being hospitalised or even dying ... puts wasps as one of the most dangerous insects in the country." - Victoria University insect ecologist Professor Phil Lester "The most hated pest in the country. Nobody has a good thing to say about them." - Bryce Buckland, Friends of Rotoiti founding member" Read more here about this community initiative that may serve well as a model for other parts of New Zealand:
wasp image

Asian Paper Wasps: impacts

Asian Paper Wasp impacts are not well understood in New Zealand. However, numbers appear to be increasing across New Zealand. Paper wasps feed on larvae and caterpillars of moths and butterflies. Paper wasps could be a cause in declining moth and butterfly numbers, which is a real concern. So controlling paper wasps (along with german or common wasps) should be considered as important as controlling any predator species.

All introduced wasp species are likely to be having a massive impact on our native biodiversity. It's just that it's difficult to quantify the loss of invertebrate species such as moths or butterflies. Plus the impact of the loss of these species on other flora and fauna in the New Zealand ecosystem landscape.

We only know that moths are critical for the reproduction of many of out native plant species. Plus form a part of the food web for other species, such as birds.

Unfortunately there is no targeted control of paper wasps available.

Locating their small nests and destroying them is the best option. More easily said than done. Nests vary in size (up to fist sized) and are often well hidden away.

Other than destroying these wasps where possible, there are options around deterring the Asian paper wasps from wooden surfaces.

paper wasp 2

Asian Paper Wasps

Asian Paper wasps are now out and about. These wasps are different from german or common wasps. They are commonly found congregating on wooden outdoor structures or furniture. Their nests are small and often concealed in long grass or shrubs or attached to outside fences or walls. This picture shows a nest attached to a concrete fence post.

paper wasp nest