Why are wasps considered pests in New Zealand?
As much as we at Habitat Tours advocate the caring for all animals, insects and creatures great and small, it really is hard to love a wasp. There are few positives to having wasps around, but a multitude of negatives.
Our own native wasps have never been much of an issue, but a number of introduced wasps (including the German wasps) accidentally made it into the country and have been classed as pests ever since.
According to the Department of Conservation, New Zealand has one of the highest densities of common and German wasps in the world – and here is why they’re such pests.
Pests to humans
The most obvious one is that wasps can be a real hazard for humans. Anyone who spends time in the outdoors, such as gardeners and forestry workers or even sight-seers, may come across wasps.
A wasp sting is painful, and some people may even be allergic, making the incident even worse.
Pests to the environment
As much as they’re annoying to humans, wasps are actually far worse for our flora and fauna.
Wasps love to eat honeydew, but the problem is that many of our native insects, birds, bats and lizards also need this food source to survive. There are as many as 10,000 worker wasps per hectare in some beech forests, so that number together devour a significant amount of honeydew – which doesn’t leave much for native species.
On top of this, wasps have also been seen to eat native insects and even bird chicks.
The Department of Conservation aims to control numbers of wasps, and fortunately, this is something anyone can help out with. To find out more, talk to your local DoC office to see what you can do to protect our flora and fauna (and humans) from these pests.
Tristan Cullen - Passionate Conservationist