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Wasp nest

I was cutting back the ivy that grows along my front fence, when I found out the hard way that there is a wasp nest amongst it all! I am a learner gardener. What is the best way to get rid of it?


The wasp you can see here is an oriental paper wasp. She's a fertilised queen who hibernates all winter then comes out and makes a little nest.

Making nest How? Simple. She grazes off some wood fibres — probably off your deck — and then masticates them up. She makes them into papier mache, a wonderful pliable material. Lovely little cells, 12, 14, 16 cells. And in each little cell she lays an egg. The egg turns into a grub — her little baby — and she feeds them. She goes out foraging for them, catches caterpillars and all sorts of insects and honey and nectar, and keeps feeding her young.

She'll catch caterpillars on your cabbages and that may be good — it's natural biological control — but unfortunately she does more damage to our natural ecosystem than you will know.

Cutting out nest Here's an example. She loves the caterpillars of our native admiral butterflies and they can be suffering as a result. My advice, despite all the good work she's doing, is get rid of them.

How? All you need is a plastic bag and a pair of secateurs. Remember, do this at night when they're home because you've got plenty of time.

Carefully put the plastic bag under the nest and with the secateurs cut off the stalk. Let the nest fall into the plastic bag and tie it up. What you do with the bag is up to you. But the most humane way to dispatch them is to put the bag in the freezer.

Further information from the Council

UnitecAdvice by Dr Dan Blanchon from Unitec's Diploma in Sustainable Horticulture and Bachelor of Resource Management.

Reproduced with permission from NZOOM Home and Garden content,
from the previous website of  TVNZ News

The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the RNZIH

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Last updated: June 27, 2005