There are two main types of wasp in the Auckland region. The german wasp and the paper wasp.
Of the two the german wasp is the more aggressive and if disturbed can swarm to the attack. When attacking they instinctively go for the eyes making it difficult to run away as you cannot see where you are going. Death resulting from toxic reaction to multiple stings is not uncommon. Even one sting can be very painful.
German wasps build their nest inside cavities. This can be inside a tree, in a hole in the ground, inside a brick or stone wall and even inside the walls of houses.
We are often called to child care centres as the wasps have built a nest under the edges of the sand pit as the sand heats up in the sun and like all insects wasps are cold blooded and need an external source of heat to become fully active. Around April wasps begin storing food and can be very active in your garden, but they are foraging and the actual nest can be several properties away.
If you have a nest on your property you will see the wasps flying in and out of the orifice the nest is inside. It is important that you locate the nest so that we can treat it when we arrive.
The wasp season in Auckland starts around November and lasts until April or May when the wasps go into hibernation.
Wasp nests are most easily found on sunny days at dawn or dusk as the low light levels make it easier to spot the wasps flying in and out of their nests. Wasps will attack and sting humans, particularly if threatened, so care should be taken around wasps and their nests. Wasp nests found in dangerous places (such as in houses or in commonly used public spaces) should be reported to us for removal.
The paper wasp builds a circular nest on the outside of houses, fences, etc and these look like a paper honeycomb. They can vary in size from the size of an egg to the size of a soccer ball. Although both species can deliver a very painful sting the german wasp is the more agressive of the two and will swarm for an attack if disturbed. This can be caused by running over their nest in the ground with a motor mower or weeding a garden or even watering a garden.
Do not try to erradicate these pests yourself, especially with a wet spray as this will certainly provoke a reaction.
Last summer we were called to a job on the Titirangi, Henderson border where the german wasps had built a nest inside a hollow tree. This nest was so big that it had filled the interior of the tree and the nest had spilled over onto the outside of the tree. These german wasp nests are not designed to be self supporting and half of the exterior nest had fallen off and was laying on the ground. The entrance to the nest was about thirty feet off the ground and far too high to reach with all our equipment. As it was late in the season we decided to wait until June when the wasps were hibernating and we chopped down the tree (it was dead anyway) and burnt it. This was certainly the largest german wasp nest we have seen in the Titirangi, Henderson area.
This was unusual for Titirangi although we have cleared out enormous paper wasp nests from the ceiling cavities of houses in Mount Albert, New Lynn and Glen Eden The nest in Mount Albert filled three garden bags and the nests in New Lynn and Glen Eden filled two garden bags each. The smell from the nests was over powering especially the nest from New Lynn.
Also last summer an elderly lady in her eighties was watering her garden in front of her house in Te Atatu and accidentally sprayed a german wasp nest in the garden. The german wasps swarmed and attacked her. Fortunately, she was near her front door and managed to run inside and grab a towel to rub her head and kill the wasps that were stinging her. A very painful and dangerous experience for an old lady which could have been a lot worse if the nest had been bigger.
Paper wasps are particularly prevalent in the Manurewa, Manukau, Papakura area and our biggest job to date was at a horse breeding farm at Karaka in South Auckland. There was a circular wooden fence around a large track for training the horses. We counted twenty five paper wasp nests on the fence all the way around.
AAA Pest Control use a pressure gun containing a pestacide powder and presurised to 100psi. This shoots a stream of powder into the nest usually provoking an explosive reaction from the wasps. For this reason our operators wear a full wasp suit and full face mask. Once the queen is dead the nest will cease to exist. The worker wasps may hang around for a few hours but will then fly off and try and join another colony. The wasps from this colony will attack them and kill them.
The latest addition to our equipment is a triple telescopic brass wand attatched to the pressure duster which allows us to reach up to five metres off the ground. This is ideal for those high, hard to reach nests.
The latest chemical that has just become available is 'Wasp Freeze' a long range aerosol with a coarse spray for those hard to get to nests.