10 Facts about wasps

Here are 10 seriously worrying facts about wasps to consider.

  1. The German wasp (Vespula germanica) was first found near Hamilton in 1945; the common wasp (Vespula vulgaris) has been in New Zealand since 1978
  2. The beech forests at the top of the South Island have the highest densities of wasps in the world; but wasps also occur in many other habitats across New Zealand
  3. On average, there are 12 nests per hectare in beech forests, that’s about 10, 000 wasps per hectare!
  4. The highest number of nests recorded was 50 - 60 nests per hectare, the equivalent of 25 - 30 nests on a football field
  5. The largest nest ever found was four metres high and contained about four million cells
  6. There is a greater biomass of wasps (3.8kg/ha) in beech forest than all the native birds plus stoats and rodents put together
  7. The public voted wasps as “most disliked wildlife” (along with rats), because they spoil enjoyment of outdoor recreational activities
  8. Wasps destroy or seriously damage 8-9% of honeybee hives in New Zealand each year
  9. Wasps affect native foodwebs, and negatively affect the behaviour of native birds
  10. The predation rate of wasps on some native invertebrates is so high that the probability of their populations surviving through the wasp season is virtually nil


Landcare Research

Wasps are quietening down

Early July and wasp activity has dropped right away. However, the warm and dry weather here in the Hawkes Bay has meant wasps can still be seen foraging from time to time.

At this time of the year wasp queens search out dry hang-outs to hibernate for the winter. Some large wasp nests may remain active, depending on the weather, right through the winter.

Come spring, wasp queens will be searching for new nest sites to establish new colonies. The cycle continues…