Wiping out wasps begins in Abel Tasman


A major wasp-killing programme has begun in the Abel Tasman National Park.

It's the first of 30 sites around the country where bait will be laid to wipe out the invasive pest.

Dotted around the Abel Tasman National Park are 800 bait stations -- each destined to wipe out thousands of wasps.

The insect pests prey on native birds and insects and the Abel Tasman is riddled with them.

The New Zealand-designed bait contains a potent, slow-acting insecticide.

Wasps are drawn to the poison and carry it back to their nests to feed to their larvae, destroying entire colonies in a matter of days.

It was trialled at South Island sites last summer and reduced wasp activity by more than 95 percent in a week.

Department of Conservation Biodiversity Ranger John Henderson says the bait kills out to around 150 metres.

"It gives you really effective control," he says.

The baits will be laid at campsites and huts along the popular beaches.

"Within a matter of days visitor experience in the park will be greatly improved," says Peter Gaze, Project Janszoon bird expert. "At the moment people coming to paradise have a real risk that they will step on a nest."

It will make the Abel Tasman experience a much more pleasant one for trampers and tourists.