Paper Wasps in Dunedin?

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  • #42514

    scootercat
    Participant

    Do any of the Southern members know if this menace has made its way to Dunedin? I have seen three unusual wasps on my large swan plants in the last couple of weeks, that look like Australian wasps, but yellow instead of brown. (As far as I can tell by looking at pictures online.) My first batch of naturally occurring caterpillars is feeding on this plant. We have a short breeding season here so can’t afford to lose any.

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  • #42542

    TgaLiz
    Participant

    Hi Scootercat – No I’m in Tauranga, Bay of Plenty, and unfortunately we have had the horrid paper wasps for quite a few years. The nests are quite small to begin with, under the eave of a shed, sheltered under the frame of timber fences, or in shrubs, with only a few cells in a grey papery substance to start with. If I find them I flyspray them at dusk when the adults have hopefully returned, then the next day wrap newspaper around the nest and dispose of it. Be very careful – they can be quite aggressive and have a nasty sting. I haven’t seen honey or bumble bees taking any notice of Monarchs as they are only interested in the nectar in flowers.

    #42534

    scootercat
    Participant

    TgaLiz, Are you in Dunedin? We haven’t had these wasps before, they are quite different to ordinary wasps and bees. My son couldn’t get a good photo but we have found identical pictures which make us sure they are paper wasps. Have only seen three, one fly sprayed and one captured, so hopefully we can stop them becoming established here.

    #42531

    Jacqui
    Moderator

    Photos are here:

    wasps Dunedin

    #42526

    TgaLiz
    Participant

    I have a lot of honeybees as well as paper wasps, and the quickest way to tell the difference is the horrible wasps have very dangly legs, quite different from bees.
    I keep an old badminton racquet by the door, and that is useful to bat them away from your swan plant so you can fly spray them. Someone suggested the racquet last year, and it works very well. Good luck.

    #42522

    scootercat
    Participant

    I’ve just seen another and caught it in a jar. Will post a photo.

    #42519

    Jacqui
    Moderator

    Scootercat – any chance you could take a photo and we could get an ID on it? You might like to post it on Naturewatch (you have to join up first – but it’s free). Great for ID’ing plants and animals, fungi too. But please send it to photos@monarch.org.nz as well.

    http://naturewatch.org.nz/

    #42518

    scootercat
    Participant

    Thanks Errol, could you tell me how far they travel from the nest? I can’t see any nests nearby. We had dozens of old wasps here weeks ago that suddenly disappeared. I think someone on the farm next door must have found the nest and destroyed it, thankfully. Since then the honeybees and bumblebees have come to the flowers on the swan plant. It’s a busy place. I’m supposing the bees are no threat to the caterpillars. Thanks for your advice.

    #42515

    Errol
    Participant

    Sounds likely the Asian paper wasps are in Dunedin now. You could try and find their nest hanging from some spot, most likely on a North facing wall, or bush. If you do find it then kill it and the wasps, with three or four good squirts of fly spray. But be careful when you do it, best time would be dusk or later when they have settled down for the night.

    Otherwise and probably the best option would be to protect the caterpillars with either netting, or put them inside a castle, or if possible bring your swan plants inside your house for safety.

    Good luck.

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