Environmental group seeks to release wasp-nest beetles and hoverfly for problem wasps

German and common wasps are widely distributed in New Zealand.
German and common wasps are widely distributed in New Zealand. Photo credit: Getty

An action group is seeking the release of wasp-nest beetles and hoverfly to combat an "invading horde" of wasps.

The Vespula Biocontrol Action Group has written an application to propose the use of biological control agents as a way of tackling invasive German and common wasps.

A report released by the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) on Friday said biocontrol agents such as wasp-nest beetles and hoverfly would be a sustainable option, as opposed to pesticides.

German and common wasps are widely distributed in New Zealand and pose a significant threat to conservational values and primary industries.

"In the peak of summer, our beech forests are thought to host an estimated 10,000 invasive German and common wasps per hectare," the report said.

"These social wasps are currently mainly controlled by pesticides. Pesticides are expensive, labour intensive and potentially hazardous to non-target organism and treated areas are quickly recolonised by queen wasps from non-treated areas.

"Biological control is the only sustainable option to reach these out of range populations and mitigate the damage caused by these social wasps.

"The effects of the introduction of exotic biocontrol agents can result from an introduction of a new organism into the New Zealand environment; and a reduction in the target pest through successful biocontrol."

The application seeks submitters to comment on the analysis and provide information that would support the full assessment to be published.