Nelson-based company Merchento has announced that Vespex wasp bait can now be released to individuals who have completed an online training test. Previously the bait was only licensed for use on public conservation land.
The protein bait, which contains the commonly used insecticide fipronil, is targeted at wasps and is not attractive to bees. Vespex was developed in conjunction with DOC and piloted on five public conservation land sites earlier this year, reducing wasp activity by more than 95%.
DOC scientist Eric Edwards says wider access to the wasp bait means that more conservation and recreation areas can be protected from the annual wasp onslaught.
He says introduced wasps are a significant pest which harm our native birds and insects and are a threat to human health and recreation.
"Today's announcement means that community groups and private landowners with natural areas on their land can now access this targeted bait station method," he says.
"It's also safer for conservation workers and volunteers because the wasps take the bait back to their nests to feed their larvae, and there's no need to approach and destroy individual nests."
Eric Edwards says this bait will go a long way towards taking the sting out of many of our forests, parks and picnic areas each season.
But he says wasps are still a persistent annual problem. "It's vital that the science community keeps working on developing a range of tools to control wasps over the long term."