What to do about wasps? They can be a
real problem for beekeepers as they rob bees and larvae from the
hive to feed their young on, as well as steal honey to eat
For others, the wasps pose a problem when they get in the house
or potentially from stings, so, what do we do??
First off, wasp stings do not have a barb like bees, meaning
they can sting again and again. Also the sting can penetrate
more than a bee sting so you need to be more careful with, and
how, you approach removing the nests.
Secondly they are quite aggressive and will chase you so make
sure you are wearing adequate protective clothing.
Wasps prefer a warm, dry place close to water and a food source.
- Common wasps generally start in an existing hole, such as a
mouse nest, rotten stump or under the roots of a large tree.
- German wasps make a paper ball either in a hedge, tree or
under the eves of houses (sometimes in the roof too).
Both construct their nests in a similar fashion from chewed up
wood, a spherical outer with layers of comb inside.
will generally only last a season in North Canterbury,
where as German wasps can survive the winter if it is mild or
they are well protected and have a ready source of food, like a
beehive. The nests that do survive a winter will be much, much
bigger the second season with and even more in the third. Until
recently New Zealand had the record for the biggest wasps nest,
coming from Waimakau in 1963, it measured 3.7M long and 5.5M in
If you find a ground based nest it is best to wait till dark,
then use something like "Carbaryl" powder at the entrance, the
wasps will track the powder inside and kill the nest.
Alternatively you can pour petrol down the hole, then block the
entrance up totally and the fumes will kill the nest quite
quickly. DO NOT light the fuel. There is a story of a farmer
finding a nest in his hayshed, he used petrol but then decided
to "light 'er up" and the whole shed detonated, very fortunately
he was not injured but the shed was a right off.
If you cannot find the nest you can use a bait station with some
fish based cat food, leave it out for a couple of days till the
wasps get used to eating it then put a few drops of "Frontline"
or similar on the food, the wasps will take it back to the grubs
and it will kill them. Make sure no pets can get at the station.