Friday 6 December 2019

Smoky Skies And Paper Wasps

We have had a lot of cloud around today, most of it tinged with orange.  This morning I was out on the roads and every time there was a view of the distance it was shrouded in a thick blue haze.  Smoke from the Australian bush fires has definitely reached our northern skies (it showed up in the South Island a few weeks ago).  I shall have to keep a watch out for spectacular sunsets, not that that helps my Australian friends who are still battling fires that keep flaring up.

This photo was taken in 2006 when we had smoke in our skies

On another note, I went for a wander around our garden and found the beginnings of a paper wasp nest.  We had a lot of them visiting us recently but numbers have dropped off dramatically and so we thought a neighbour somewhere must have destroyed a nest.

The new nest we have found

Three kinds of paper wasps are now found in New Zealand (they are different from the common wasp) – the Australian paper wasp which was accidentally introduced in the late 1800s, the Asian paper wasp which arrived in the 1970s, and the recently found Asian paper wasp which first appeared in the last ten years and is rapidly spreading throughout the country.

Paper wasps are now classed as the number one pest in urban environments and a summer campaign is being mounted to help eradicate them.  The advice is to wait until evening and then spray the nest with fly spray, making sure there are no vulnerable children or pets etc. around to face the ire of the wasps.  Once the adults have died, detach the hanging nest from its position and place into a bag.  Then freeze the nest to kill off any remaining larvae.

Years ago we discovered a large nest hidden in our rambling garden.  My husband sort advice from his workmates and was advised to douse the nest in petrol, which he did.  It killed the wasps immediately and he then set fire to the nest and burnt it.  Not a very correct way to eradicate these pests, but it was effective.

It is a shame these pests keep getting introduced into our country.


  1. I am afraid that in these days of extensive travel and commerce between countries the introduction of invasive species is almost inevitable.

  2. The global village includes the insects too. We’ve had a few introduced here which are destroying trees.

  3. I think they are everywhere. Keep in mind that we have had cold weather, though yesterday and today has not been too cold. But the other day when it was cold, I brought in the mail, and felt something fall through my hands, and looked down and there was a wasp! It was alive but so cold it was barely crawling!

  4. I think your husband did a good job of getting rid of the paper wasps and larvae in one shot. I can imagine my sons doing something wild like that too.

  5. oh I hate them, I got stung by them many years ago and it hurt although rubbing with banana skin helped. I saw some tiny nests of theirs on our fence last week and grabbed a newspaper out of the letterbox to use to swipe them off, it worked and they haven't come back...yet


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