Q&A: Ouch, we have a wasp nest and youngsters tenting over Christmas


We just moved into a new rental property in Hamilton and I saw what I think wasps coming out of a hole in the back lawn. I don’t usually like killing things, but we have two small children and of course we don’t want them getting bitten. We also have family members staying for Christmas and children planning to camp out in tents on the back lawn. My aunt suggested I contact her friends at Get Growing to find a solution. Beth Heeney, Hamilton

Hi Beth, What I do know about wasps is that they become more active in the summer when temperatures get warmer. So if you want to do something about it, it’s best to do it now and before the kids come. I also know that they are less active at dawn and in the evening. And they usually die or hibernate in the winter, but that’s not going to help you and your kids now.

I once had a neighbor who had a wasp nest in a rat-like hole in the ground in his backyard next to a lemon tree. He filled the hole with diesel and lit a match. He got rid of the wasps, but not before he was stung, setting the tree on fire and attracting the attention of the fire department. In the end it was a costly experience for him. So this is an example of what not to do and he would have been better off enlisting professional pest control.

* Wasp Eradication: Efforts to eradicate pests begin on Motutapu Island in Auckland
* Wasp eradication: genital bites and car-sized nests
* Wasp Wipeout: The Human Cost of “One of New Zealand’s Most Dangerous Insects”

But I believe with the right advice you might be able to solve this problem before Christmas and without a fire, so I refer you to a story written on the subject by a much more knowledgeable and experienced gardener and beetle enthusiast, namely Ruud Kleinpaste. Here is an article he wrote in collaboration with NZ Gardener Magazine. How to Kill a Wasp Nest | Stuff.co.nz

And did you know that there is a link between climate change and invasive wasps? Scientists discover link between climate change and numbers of invasive wasps | Stuff.co.nz

And we want to avoid that in your garden. Gardening interrupted by wasp infestation | Stuff.co.nz

So take the expert’s advice and be smart with wasps Be smart (and careful) with wasps | Stuff.co.nz

Some other information you might want to know about wasps comes from the Department of Conservation’s website (Wasps: Animal pests), which basically states that New Zealand has some of the highest densities of German and common wasps in the world.