Wasp control

In the summer months the Abel Tasman attracts an unwelcome guest - wasps. Beech forests can be home to an estimated 12 nests, or 10,000 worker wasps, per hectare. This makes the total combined body-weight of wasps in these areas higher than the weight of all native birds, stoats and rodents, put together.

Project Janszoon is committed to wasp control as a way to not only greatly improve visitors’ experience of the Abel Tasman over the busy summer months but also for its substantial bio-diversity benefits.  Wasps compete with our native birds, insects and honey bees for food.

2017 was the fourth year Project Janszoon and DOC undertook wasp control in the Abel Tasman, with wasp numbers reduced by 95% each season.

The control area includes 46km of the Abel Tasman Coast Track, around 17 campsites and four huts, over 110ha at Pitt Head and 736ha in the Falls River Block. It is partly funded by the Abel Tasman Foreshore Scenic Reserve Fund which is funded from foreshore concession fees. The Abel Tasman Birdsong Trust also undertakes wasp control on Pitt Head, Anchorage, Torrent Bay village (on behalf of the residents) and along the track from Tinline to Holyoakes.    

Wasp control normally takes place in February when the wasps move into their protein phase.  The operations use Vespex®, a protein bait that contains the commonly used insecticide fipronil, which targets wasps and is not attractive to bees.  The wasps take the bait back to their nests to feed their larvae, destroying entire nests from one bait-station.

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DOC bio-diversity ranger John Henderson undertaking wasp control along the Great Walk