An "alien pod" holding thousands of german wasps has been uncovered in a Normanby backyard.
The discovery was made this week in the small Taranaki town after Claire and Peter Linn's neighbours, with the help of an exterminator, traced a number of rogue wasps back to the nest, which is built around a punga stump in a section near the couple's property.
The neighbours had been having problems with the insects feeding on their children's wooden playground but were not able to pinpoint where the wasps were living.
Linn said although she was shocked by its size when she first saw it, she thought it had some redeeming features.
"It's actually quite beautiful in a way, quite sculptural," Linn said.
The find has been causing a lot of buzz in the neighbourhood too, with plenty of people coming around for a look.
So far, exterminator Neville Prestidge had been back three times to spray the super-sized construction, which he thought had been there for around a year.
He said it was the biggest one he had come across in the 14 years he has been doing the job.
"I've seen some big ones but I've not seen anything as big as that, it's just huge," Prestidge said.
"There would have been thousands and thousands of wasps," he said.
The papier mache like texture is the result of the wasps' eating wood fibre, mixing it with saliva and regurgitating it back up to construct the nest.
He said he had been visiting the address daily to check on the nest and had advised the Linns to wait for a few days before they cut the nest out.
Prestidge said he had only been stung once during his work at the property over the past few days.
"So they've had a bit of revenge," he said.
WASPS IN NZ
Asian paper wasp
Australian paper wasp
How to find nests
Search on sunny days, near dawn or dusk as the low light angles will highlight the flight path as wasps enter and leave the nest. You can put out a bait of cat food sprinkled with flour which will make the wasps easier to see
How to poison the nest
Place a dessert spoonful of insecticide at the nest entrance after dark when the wasps have stopped flying. You can use a puffer bottle for this job. Worker wasps flying in and out will spread the powder into the nest and the colony usually dies within a day. If activity continues repeat the treatment until wasp activity ceases. If all else fails, call a professional.
Source: Department of Conservation
- Taranaki Daily News
Which would you prefer?Related story: Natural burials the way to go
The cost of losing nature