Send us your wasps, says Tasman Council
The Tasman District Council is asking members of the public to capture wasps and send them in by post.
Friends of Rotoiti representative Bryce Buckland said a biocontrol project was investigating the effects of a mite on German wasps. Findings by a PhD student have associated the mite with wing deformation and widespread death in heavily infected wasp colonies.
A Sustainable Farming Fund grant has been made to support further research, and a community group called Vespula Biocontrol Action Group has been set up.
Buckland said the study needed samples of queen wasps from around the region so the researchers could look at the distribution of mites on both German and common wasps.
The queens are significantly larger than the workers and are capable of stinging.
Buckland said they could be found hibernating in firewood piles and under tarpaulins and sacks at this time of year.
Council staff member Robin van Zoelen will receive the wasp samples, check them for mites, and forward them to the researchers.
NEED TO KNOW
Here are the council's instructions on how to collect queen wasps for the biocontrol project:
Handle them with care – gloves are recommended. Although drowsy from hibernation, they can still sting.
Put them in a small container (which must be secure) and place it in the freezer.
To forward the wasps to the council, attach your name, contact details and location information to the container (or on a piece of paper inside the container). GPS co-ordinates would be great, but a street address is fine.
Wrap or enclose the container in an envelope, label it "Wasp sample", and address it to Robin van Zoelen, Tasman District Council, Private Bag 4, Richmond.
It can be sent via the TDC service centres in Takaka, Motueka and Murchison.
The Nelson Mail