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Watch out for wasps!

4 April 2008

Watch out for wasps!

People visiting parks and reserves in the Wairarapa are warned to be wary of wasps with high numbers of nests reported there this season.

The Department of Conservation’s Wairarapa Area office has received a number of calls about nests in recent weeks and staff are doing their best to remove them from the more popular walking tracks.

However, DOC visitor assets programme manager Garry Foster says the public need to be aware of the existence of the wasps which can be aggressive.

“At this time of year wasps’ nests are found in sunny spots such as banks which can be close to streams or rivers. My team are trying to remove as many as possible but there’s a lot and people need to be aware of any risks they may pose,” says Garry Foster.

“The life cycle of wasps means that numbers are at their peak between February and April while the queen is hatching young eggs. They can be quite aggressive and discretion is advised.”

Social wasps are an introduced pest which pose a threat to urban, rurual and natural ecosystems here. There are four species in New Zealand with German and common wasps (vespulid) being the problem in the Wairarapa at the moment.

Allergy New Zealand recommends wearing footwear when outside and covering up as two ways of avoiding being stung.

While DOC manages the control of wasps on conservation land they are not responsible for their management on other property. Visit Greater Wellington’s website on how to personally manage nests: http://www.gw.govt.nz/section1056.cfm?#OLE_LINK1

For more information on wasps please visit: www.doc.govt.nz/wasps.

For more information on allergies to stinging insects please visit: http://www.allergy.org.nz/about+allergies/stinging+insects+allergy.html.


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