Pest wasps are the introduced social wasps; the German, common wasps and Australia and asian paper wasps. Wasp nests can contain several thousand wasps each with a sting.
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 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 and Australian Paper wasps form much smaller colonies than the common or German and the nest will have only a few tens of cells in an open type nest. The Paper Wasps are consequently less of a direct threat to people. However, they are 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.
To get rid of wasp nests:
*Caution: 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.
The common species of wasp in New Zealand include:
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