Comvita joins the “Wasp Wipeout” campaign to eliminate parasites

Wasps are a major pest in New Zealand. Photo / 123RF


The honey company Comvita has joined forces to eliminate the number of wasps across the country.

Introduced German and common wasps are a nuisance pest, invading hives and eating insects – reducing the amount of food for native birds.

A Department of Conservation program, Wasp Wipeout, raises funds for bait stations used to control populations.

Comvita’s head of industrial affairs, Tony Wright, said the growing number of wasps had led the company to get involved.

“In our industry, we lose about 10% of our hives for a variety of reasons, and wasps account for about 10% of those losses.

“They’re a nuisance because they’re a competitor for what the bees are doing and they like to get into the hive and steal all the good work the bees have done.

“They take honey, but they also take bee larvae and feed it with their own larvae.”

“We need harsh winters to bring populations back, but the last two winters have been milder, so more adult wasps are surviving through them.

“The Wasp Wipeout campaign has been going on for a few years now, but has mainly focused on the South Island, so we wanted to get involved and focus on Hawke’s Bay, as that is one of our main beekeeping regions.”

Wright said Comvita would install 1,100 bait stations in the area to manage wasp populations.

“It will be difficult to measure success, but in the absence of natural predators here, significant efforts to control wasp populations continue.”


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