wasp control

Wiping out invasive wasps a 'critical issue' for New Zealand's environment

A pest control method inspired by Greek mythology is one of the latest weapons being developed in New Zealand's war on invasive wasps.
Professor Phil Lester of Victoria University spoke at Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology on Tuesday night about a research project he is leading aimed at wiping out wasp populations.
Lester, an expert in insect ecology, said it was appropriate that he was giving the talk in Nelson, which he said was the "wasp capital of New Zealand".

Source: http://www.stuff.co.nz/environment/85957974/wiping-out-invasive-wasps-a-critical-issue-for-new-zealands-environment

Time to plan for the approaching wasp season

As summer approaches, common/german wasp queens will be out of hibernation and now building new nest sites. Wasp numbers will slowly build over the coming months. Now is a good time to make some wasp observations and plan for control measures. Ideally control needs to be planned and undertaken prior to wasps reaching plague level proportions.

Here are two simple steps to take:

1. Watch for wasp activity. Be aware of wasps and how common they are becoming around your property. Bees and bumble bees are being active right now so don't mistake them for wasps! Wasp activity will build over the coming months, so its good to get an idea of how common they are and how their numbers are building up. Taking note of where they are flying to and from. This might give clues as to where their nest is building. Finding a nest site really is a bonus- it makes control of localised wasp infestations relatively straight forward.

2. Watch for wasp feeding patterns. As wasp numbers build they will start looking for food sources. What are they feeding on? It's useful to know wasp feeding habits, because this is critical for control operations. Once wasp numbers build to being very common, place some test baits- fish cat food - a teaspoon in a milk bottle lid is fine. Put one or two out on a handy fence post near wasp activity. Wait an hour, go have a cup of tea, go back and see if wasps are actively feeding on this bait. Repeat this at weekly intervals- at some point wasps will switch their feeding preferences to this bait. As soon as wasp feeding preference for test baits are confirmed- this is the time to carry out control operations.

My measure for wasps becoming common is heaps of flying activity. A solitary wasp doesn't count for too much! But for example, when wasps start flying into your house and getting caught on windows trying to escape- that's a good measure of wasps becoming common. Wasps becoming a nuisance in the garden is also a sign their populations are starting to boom.

Found a wasp nest site? Wasps a nuisance? Contact me if you want any advice on control.

Wasps Plague Riverbanks says HBRC

Wasps Plague Riverbanks

There is a population explosion of wasps along Hawke’s Bay riverbanks and Hawke’s Bay Regional Council is warning people to take care along river berm areas.

“If there’s a large amount of wasps around, our advice is to leave the area, and certainly avoid going into the undergrowth where you may disturb a wasp nest,” says Vince Byrne, HBRC’s rivers manager.
It is not known why wasps have increased to such large numbers in these areas but there have been reports of similar problems in other parts of the country. 


Study evaluates costs of wasps to NZ

This report estimates that introduced wasps cost New Zealand’s economy more than $130 million dollars a year, with the biggest economic impacts on farming, beekeeping, horticulture and forestry workers. 
This assessment was based on a literature review. Information was collected from previous studies and from affected sectors in New Zealand to estimate the total costs of wasps, ie the costs that could be avoided and the opportunities that could be gained if wasps were not present in New Zealand.
New Zealand has some of the highest densities of German and common wasps in the world. Wasps have huge social and biological impacts; they are one of the most damaging invertebrate pests in New Zealand, harming our native birds and insects.
This study found that wasps also have a major financial impact on primary industries and the health sector. This includes:
  • more than $60 million a year in costs to pastoral farming from wasps disrupting bee pollination activities, reducing the amount of clover in pastures and increasing fertiliser costs.
  • almost $9 million a year cost to beekeepers from wasps attacking honey bees, robbing their honey and destroying hives.
  • wasp-related traffic accidents estimated to cost $1.4 million a year.
  • over $1 million each year spent on health costs from wasp stings.
  • on top of the direct costs, almost $60 million a year is lost in unrealised honey production from beech forest honeydew which is currently being monopolised by wasps. Honeydew is also a valuable energy source for kaka, tui and bellbirds.
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Bait station set up Ngaruruoro

This shows a typical bait station set up to dispense Vespex® wasp bait. In this situation a wasp infestation is being controlled on private property adjoining the Ngaruruoro River in the Hawkes Bay- the riparian area is the source of many nests, resulting in the high numbers of wasps infesting this property.


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Wasp feeding on Vespex®

This shows wasp feeding activity on Vespex® wasp bait. Wasps feed on this bait and carry it back to nests. Nests are destroyed with 2-3 days of bait being dispensed via bait stations, enabling wide control of areas where nest sites cannot be located.

wasp vespex

Wasp nest in attic

This wasp nest was destroyed in an attic recently. The nest was about the size of a football and attached to the rear of a filing cabinet and box. The wasps had eaten their way into the box and made it part of their nest.


Asian Paper Wasps

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Controlling single nests

I've been asked if we are able to control single wasp nests, often on private property in urban areas or life style blocks.

The answer is yes! We do undertake this work. If the nest entrance can be found, it's more than likely the nest can be destroyed using insecticidal dust, applied directly into the nest. Sometimes this requires more than one application.

We offer a fixed price for single wasp nest destruction- call or email for more information. No charge until the job is complete and wasp nest totally eradicated.

Here's one nest destroyed just recently in central Hawkes Bay. This nest was located pretty much on the property owners back door step next to their verandah…not a comfortable situation at all!

wasp nest

VESPEX® Development

Some information on Vespex® development 

Vespex® being used at Abel Tasman

Vespex® being used in this wasp control operation at Abel Tasman National Park