How to rip into pa­per wasps

The Leader (Nelson) - - FRONT PAGE - SARA MEIJ They may cause less trou­ble than their cousins, but pa­per wasps pose prob­lems of their own. Sara Meij re­ports as part of the Wasp Wipe­out project.

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.

R. TOFT, ENTECOL

Asian pa­per wasps (Polistes chi­nen­sis)

PHOTO: VANESSA PHILLIPS/FAIRFAXNZ

An asian pa­per wasp on a nest in a Nel­son gar­den.

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