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Wasp nest discovery a timely summer reminder

Wasps buzz off as nest hits ground

Published: 10 September 2020

A large common wasp nest, originally the size of a two-person tent (1m x 2m x 2.5m), has been found in the Waitākere Ranges Regional Park in recent weeks.

Discovered in the Karekare beach area of the regional park, the “overwintering” nest is built from a collection of sticks, bark and leaves. It’s believed to have been expanding for up to two years and would have been home to tens of thousands of wasps.

“I think this must be one of the bigger nests we’ve seen in a long while,” says Sarah Gibbs, Auckland Council’s senior ecological advisor.

“Fortunately, this nest has collapsed and is no longer active; it’s unlikely to be re-populated as the queens will have already moved on to set up home somewhere else.

“Most wasp nests die off in late autumn after the queens and drones have produced but a nest this size is large enough to survive a winter. Queens in the 'overwintering' nest like this one will establish multiple satellite nests in spring, enabling the wasps to quickly repopulate the area as the weather warms up.”

The common wasp is an aggressive pest. Not only does it have a painful sting, but it is also a voracious hunter and gatherer, preying on many of our native chicks and invertebrates.

As the summer season comes around again it’s a timely reminder to Aucklanders of the threat the common wasp poses.

“To protect park users and ecological values, we would love to hear from anyone who sees a large nest like this so it can be controlled before it grows bigger, and before the queens spread and create many new nests, adds Sarah.

If you see a large wasp nest this summer season or at any time, do not approach it. Instead, please phone the council on 09 301 0101 and let us know its location.

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