Diana Cole only paused for a heartbeat when she saw a nest swarming with angry wasps in her rear vision mirror.
"I had just backed out of my garage and I saw it on the driveway. I was sitting in the car and I thought, what have I got to lose? So I drove over it. When I looked back to see where it was, it wasn't there," the 76-year-old New Plymouth woman said.
Moments before the nest had been on the wood chopping block in Mrs Cole's driveway.
Having watched it grow bigger each day she had grabbed the opportunity to rid herself of it after it came free of the block and rolled on to the driveway.
Non-conventional and potentially dangerous as her method of wasp eradication was, it had the desired effect and the stinging insects have not returned.
Mrs Cole said she had never had a wasp nest on her Devon St West property before but this year she is one of many having their first experience with the hazardous insects' nests.
Sandra Charlton, of New Plymouth company Pestaway NZ Ltd, said the firm was dealing with an average of five nests a day, compared with two or three at the same time last year.
"It's just really, really bad. It's hard to tell why. Obviously the weather has a lot to do with it and the winter didn't last long last year," she said.
So far the biggest nest they have been called on to eradicate was in Lepperton. It measured 1.5 metres long and wide and 40 centimetres deep. Massive nests have also been found in South Taranaki and the wasp problem isn't limited to Taranaki. On Monday a Taumarunui farmer nearly died when she was stung dozens of times after stumbling into a wasp nest.
Ms Charlton said people could develop allergic reactions to wasps over time and while an initial sting might not cause a reaction, subsequent ones could. "The danger is that people are trying to sort it out themselves and they are getting stung. If you walk into a swarm of wasps it can be fatal."
Ms Charlton said once treated the wasps within a nest were usually dead within two hours.
- Taranaki Daily News
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