There are two species of introduced paper wasps (Polistes wasps) and they were last surveyed in the early 1990s. The first species to become established in New Zealand was the Australian paper wasp Polistes humilis, which has been present here since the 1880s but restricted to the North Island. The second species is the Asian paper wasp Polistes chinensis, which was first recorded in New Zealand in 1979.
Researcher Darren Ward wants to know if the wasps are continuing to spread through New Zealand, or whether they have reached their ‘limits’.
“Paper wasps are a threat to natural ecosystems because they prey on invertebrates, predominantly caterpillars, and also collect nectar in late summer/autumn. Densities of more than 200 nests and 6300 wasps per ha have been recorded in the far north of the North Island.”
Specific information Dr Ward requires is:
- localities from around New Zealand (such as city/town, suburb, street, date, where found)
- what species is it (Asian or Australian). If you are unsure, a photo is best, even a low resolution image is ok, as the species have very different colours/markings on their body.
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