How to rip into paper wasps
German and common wasps are a huge problem in the Nelson region, but you may have also encountered their cousin — the paper wasp.
Paper wasps have become a common sight in Nelson gardens especially if you have swan plants where monarch butterflies like to lay their eggs.
The wasps, are similar to German and common wasps but are skinnier with longer, dangly legs.
Australian wasps are orange and black in colour while the Asian variety are black and yellow.
Despite the fact paper wasps were reducing monarch butterfly populations, Edwards said the common and German wasps were a bigger problem in the Nelson region than paper wasps.
This was because German and common wasps were spread over a larger area and at a higher density.
They also formed much bigger nests and fed on a greater range of things.
German and common wasps scavenge for protein sources and ’’eat anything’’, ranging from live insects to road kill.
Paper wasps usually have small nests that hang from veg- etation or fences.
‘‘If you upset or disturb a common or German wasp nest, you know thousands of workers can come after you.’’
Edwards said a sting from a paper wasp hurt less than that of a common or German wasp, but was still painful.
The fact that paper wasps rely heavily on live prey means they aren’t attracted to the proteinbased bait Vespex, which has proven to be highly effective on German and common wasps populations.
The best way to get rid of the paper wasp nests was to douse them in fly spray in the evening, when the paper wasps are less active and much less likely to sting.
Asian paper wasps (Polistes chinensis)
An asian paper wasp on a nest in a Nelson garden.