Pest wasps are the introduced social wasps, the German Wasp, Common Wasp and Asian and Australian Paper wasps. Wasp nests can contain several thousand wasps each with a sting.
Identify the problem
Pest wasps: German, common and the paper wasps, can be distinguished from bees by their shiny hairless bodies and distinct black and yellow stripes. Honey bees have much less distinct stripes of browns. Bumble bees are much larger, are rounded and have furry bodies.
The Asian Paper wasp forms much smaller colonies than the common or German and the nest will have only a few tens of cells in an open type nest.
Wasps and bees have a painful sting, to which some individuals are more susceptible than others; on rare occasions a sting can cause anaphylactic shock. For those not allergic to wasp or bee stings a sting on the throat or mouth can still be dangerous if the swelling blocks airways. On such occasions seek immediate medical advice immediately. Wasps or bees should not be tackled without a sound knowledge of the risks.
Bees are generally beneficial insects producing honey and pollinating our crops and flowers. However, occasionally a swarm will set up home in an inappropriate place such as the eaves of your house. In this case we strongly recommend that you contact a local beekeeper (see the Apiculture NZ swarm collection list) who may try and collect the colony to use for honey production. Only if this is not possible should the colony be destroyed.
If bees have been present for months or years at the nest site, there is likely to be a honey store in the nest. Once the colony has been destroyed this honey must be removed or it will attract new swarms of bees or wasps.
- The nests of wasps generally have only one entrance/exit. If this can be identified outdoors. The colony can be destroyed by sprinkling or puffing NO Wasps Eliminator powder into the entrance. The workers will then pick up the dust as they enter the nest and take it inside where it will kill larvae and queens.
- Wasps, particularly Asian Paper Wasps, chew wood such as dead trees, decks, fences and stumps to make the 'paper' that they use to build their nests. Spraying such decaying wood with NO Wasps or NO Bugs Super can effectively control paper wasps and help to control German and Common wasps.
- And/or use the Insect Guard Fly Control System.
- Great care should be taken in treating the entrance to a nest as there is a risk of being stung. It may be advisable to do this operation at night when there is no wasp or bee activity.
- If the nest site cannot be found it is possible to reduce wasp numbers (and maybe kill a whole colony) using NO Wasps Concentrate mixed with a suitable bait such as sugar* or canned fish.
- NO Wasps sprays are useful to treat around rubbish bins and other areas where wasps are attracted.
- Where there is a risk of attracting bees to the bait, sugar and syrup baits should not be used. In such risk areas use canned fish, raw meat, carrion or fish skeletons as an attractant and spray with water based mix described above. Fix the bait inside an inverted can and suspend from a suitable tree. Respray every 2-3 days.
Did You Know
- Pest wasps are the introduced social wasps, the German Wasp, Common Wasp and Asian and Australian Paper wasps.
- Wasp nests can contain several thousand wasps each with a sting.
- The size of the nest will increase through the summer as more wasps are added to the colony. Nests reach their peak size in autumn and can be as large as a beach ball containing 3 to 5 thousand individuals. In New Zealand, conditions can be such that colonies do not die back during winter allowing more than the queen to survive. In this case the nests can grow over several seasons and become much larger.
- The Asian Paper wasp is less of a direct threat to people because it forms smaller nests. However, it is a threat to native insect species such as Monarch Butterflies on which it feeds. Many people will wish to control the paper wasps to protect their Monarchs.
- Recently the European paper wasp (Polistes dominula) has been found in the north of the South Island. It is not clear how widespread this new wasp to New Zealand is.
- Although wasps poses a sting they do not use it unless they or their colony is under threat. Rapid movement can be regarded as threatening. So if a wasp or bee lands on you during application of NO Wasps Eliminator try and stay calm, it is likely to fly off again. Panicked waving and trying to get rid of wasps is only likely to induce the wasp to sting.
- Wasps are not usually aggressive. But they seem to be more aggressive towards the end of the season (autumn) and in muggy thunder-like weather. Avoid treating nests in such weather, it is usually advisable to wait until dark when wasps will not be active.
- Advice on finding wasp nests
- Download the 1-2-3 Wasp Control Programme