Giving wasps the big buzz-off

04 March 2021

A series of wasp-killing bait stations is helping us take the sting out of summer.

More than a hundred stations are being set up in 15 parks, reserves and walkways around the New Plymouth District.

“At this time of year, wasps are out and about finding food and taking it back to their nests – but when they take back this bait, it’ll kill them all off,” says NPDC Coordinator Horticulture Kane Rangi.
“Wasps can fly up to a kilometre in search of food so even though these bait stations are on public land, some wasps will be going back to nests that are on private properties and potentially causing problems around homes.”

Our staff are trained on both use of the poison and wasp behaviour so that the stations are placed where they are most likely to attract the insects. The bait being used isn’t eaten by bees so won’t cause any issues for residents with bee hives.

“We’re targeting both German wasps and common wasps. We look after more than 1,600ha of park and reserve land in our district and we’re placing these bait stations in areas that have a lot of public use and are likely flight-paths for wasps,” said Kane.

We have been receiving about 10 complaints a week about wasps. Wasps pack a sharp sting, but the introduced pest also competes for food with native species.

The baiting programme will run for about another month, during the wasps’ busiest time of the year and before new queens begin to hibernate. 

To find and kill a single wasp nest on your property

  • Common and German wasps are slightly larger than honey bees, with distinctive black and yellow stripes and smooth rather than hairy bodies. 
  • Wasps nest are usually found in a hollow in the ground, such as in a bank or under a tree stump. They can also be in the eves or roof-space of buildings. 
  • Wasp insecticides can be found at hardware and garden stores. Once the insecticide is applied, the colony will usually die within a day.
  • The best time to kill a wasp nest is in the cool of the morning or evening, when wasps are slower and less likely to mount much of a defence.
  • If you’re allergic to stings, don’t attempt to destroy a nest yourself; bring in a commercial pest control contractor instead.
 
A parks worker drilling a wasp bait station to a tree