Common or German wasp
New Zealand provides a favourable habitat for wasps because of our mild winters, no natural wasp predators and a plentiful food supply. This has led New Zealand to have some of the highest densities of Common and German wasps in the world.
Introduced wasps are causing a number of problems throughout the country. They:
Both common and German wasps live in large colonies, about the size of a soccer ball. The nest can become larger if the colony survives the winter. Common and German wasps have distinctive yellow and black striped bodies. The common wasp nest is yellowish to reddish brown, while the German wasp nest is grey. Both species can use their sting repeatedly.
Common wasps were first noted in the 1920s, but did not become well established in the Wellington region until 1978. German wasps have been present in New Zealand since the 1940s. Australian and Asian paper wasps are also present in the region.
Vespex is a new protein (meat-based) bait developed in conjunction with the Department of Conservation (DOC). It contains the insecticide fipronil, which is deployed from a bait station. Wasps eating the bait and taking it back to their nests to feed the rest of the colony, wiping out the nest. This is especially useful when you have been unable to identify where wasps are nesting. However, it is only effective at certain times of the year when wasps are eating protein. It tends to work better in environments where food supply for wasps is scarce.
Vespex is targeted at wasps and is not attractive to bees. It is available from Nelson-based company Merchento. All users must pass an online test and become an approved user to ensure they use it according to instructions.
Information on Vespex is on DOC's website
Another way to control wasps is to locate the nest and poison it directly. Removing or covering these attractants food such as fruit and meat that attracts wasps will help discourage them from outdoor areas. By sitting and watching the flight line of foraging wasps it is usually possible to locate the entrance to their nest. This is easiest done in the late afternoon or evening.
A few tips:
If you are unable to find the nest, individually trapping wasps could be another solution. Most wasps die off during winter and the queen hibernates until the spring. In October the queen starts a new nest, so early spring is the time to trap queens and avoid the creation of new nests.
How to make your own wasp trap:
TapTrap offers some useful information about wasp traps.
NoPests’ Wasp Dome Trap is an effective commercial product.
Contact our biosecurity officers for advice on how to treat and manage wasps.
If you find a wasp nest on Greater Wellington land, let us know so that the nest so it can be dealt with immediately.
Commercial pest control companies can be contracted to control wasps.
Additional information and tips on managing wasp problems can be found at: