Fair weather causes wasp explosion

ELTON SMALLMAN
Last updated 05:00 24/03/2014
Kevin Cramp of Pest Attack Pest Control
SUITED UP: Kevin Cramp of Pest Attack Pest Control applies a powder treatment to eradicate a wasp nest.

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The Waikato has been inundated with swarms of wasps, with pest controllers being run off their feet this year as they field pleas from people who have tried and failed to eradicate the wasp nests.

Experts say belting nests with a broom will just annoy them and scorching them with fly spray and a lighter could leave your fingers burned.

So if you want to get rid of wasps, call in the experts.

Last week, a Taumarunui sheep farmer was attacked by hundreds of wasps while out in the hills and ended up in hospital.

And a 76-year-old New Plymouth woman watched as a nest of wasps broke off a block of wood which then rolled onto her drive way. She then drove over it in her car .

SWAT Pest Control owner Jeremy Kelsen may never use that technique, but said two years of stellar breeding conditions had caused a spike in wasp numbers and home owners had resorted to well known, but dangerous, methods.

"They use a range of things from fly spray through to petrol and stuff like that," said Mr Kelsen.

"They're the people I get the calls from who say either they've burnt themselves or been stung multiple times and want me to fix it."

Last year's drought brought pain to farmers but creepy crawlies had a field day deep in the dried soil with an explosion in the black beetle and cricket population.

That was followed up with a mild winter and another dry season and created a bug boom.

"That would be the only thing I could put it down to . . . just the long, hot summers we've had."

Honey bees and paper wasps, so called because of their paper like and umbrella shaped hives, were bad enough if agitated but the common and german wasp, which were closely related and look similar, were the worst.

"I would say out of sheer character, the common wasp would be the worst. They are known to be aggressive by nature, and they don't like being disturbed."

Pest Attack Pest Control owner Kevin Cramp has been in the eradication business for more than 15 years and has done a third more wasp jobs this year than the same time last year.

"I'm doing about dozen a week when at peak last year there 7 or 8," he said.

"There is definitely a big increase this season."

Stings were "just part of the job" but recommended people not try to remove the nests themselves.

He used a powder treatment for a hive of german wasps and wore a white protective suit, a mesh face protector and dust mask during what he described as a "fairly simple process.

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"They are a bit more nasty so we don't recommend people try and tackle them."

But wasps weren't the only pests to be tackled, with cockroaches and rodents also making their presence felt.

"They've already started to come out and there are a lot of cockroaches around."

"It's all attributed the hot, dry spell that we've had for ages."

- Waikato Times

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