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.

Project Janszoon, DOC and the Abel Tasman Birdsong Trust have successfully undertaken regular wasp control over the Coast track, Pitt Head, Torrent Bay village and Falls River block.  Monitoring has seen wasp numbers reduced by over 95% each season.

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.

However, the benefits only last one season.  Project Janszoon is now consulting with others about undertaking a research project to see whether reinvasion can be limited if wasp control is undertaken at landscape scale.

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