How to Kill Paper Wasps

Ha! Easy peasy.

The answer to 'how to kill paper wasps' would appear to be - ring the council.

They are super keen to get rid of anything that is a threat to people, small children, babies, old people etc. ah...not that small children are a threat to people....oh, you know what I mean!

Only thing is, it is helpful to find the nest first. And my wasps are suddenly absent. A bit like when you have toothache for weeks, finally book for the dentist, and the ache mysteriously disappears and you can't remember if it was the right side or the left.

Maybe it just hasn't been sunny enough.

Oh well, no wasps is good right?

Do paper wasps kill bees?

My garden has become infested with paper wasps. They come out in the sun, and love to hang around my clothes line and vegetable garden. On a sunny day I might have 100 or so in close proximity to my clothes hanging activities. Not cool!

paper wasps

paper wasps

There are 2 types of paper wasps, Asian and Australian. Check out this

Landcare article

for pictures of both.

I've spent ages outside trying to find their nest.


suggests that their nests are small, about the size of a pear. And that they fly no more than 200m. So they must be close.


AAA pest control Auckland

suggests looking at dusk, so you can see them flying in.

Well, I have looked. And looked and looked. I can't see them flying in or out of my place. So that would imply they live in my place. But I can't see them in my place either.

But we've got Vespex, right? That'll deal to them. Except, no.

"Vespex® is specifically designed for wide-area control of Vespula wasp species. In New Zealand, this includes both the common wasp (Vespula vulgaris) and German wasp (V. germanica). These wasps are also known as yellow jackets in some countries." and that "Paper wasps (Polistes sp.) get the protein they need by hunting for living insects, especially caterpillars, and are not attracted to Vespex®."


Clemson University

says that paper wasps are good for killing garden pests, like caterpillars, of which I have many. Many many. And that paper wasps will die out in the autumn, and the queen will hibernate on her own over winter. Not sure if this applies to our climate, as we don't have hard frosts in Auckland, but fingers crossed.

So maybe I just need to stop hanging my washing out on sunny days?

And keep looking, I think.

And as for 'Do paper wasps kill bees?'. I have no idea. There doesn't seem to be an answer on the interwebs about this. So I am assuming no. Vespula wasps kill bees for sure though.

Wasp Killing with Vespex

A new Insecticide targeting Wasps only

We've all had the experience of ants over-running the kitchen. So you get out the trusty ant bait, the ants carry it back to their nest, and the queen and all the others die.

Well, now there is a wasp bait that does the same -



Our surplus boxes are all coming back to the ranch to be cleaned up and re-dipped in oil and then stored for the winter. There is a huge pile stacked up waiting for attention. And boy, do the wasps just love that. All that wax and residue of honey!

So we put out some vespex traps.

And the wasps were immediately into it.

It looked like they were picking up more than their body weight to take back to their nest.

The next day the traps were not entirely empty, but definitely a bit light on the poison,

Note: to be able to get Vespex you need to complete special Vespex training and be registered as an approved user.

How to Kill a Wasp Nest

Oh the weekend we went and dealt to a wasp nest. It was up in the roof space of a shed on one of our host's properties. The wasps had crawled in through the gap between the roofing and the wall cladding. Looked like there were a whole heap of them too, they were quite busy coming and going.

Intrepid beeman put his head right up in the flight path and gave them a few good puffs (or maybe half a bottle?) of dust2dust, which is a permethrin based powder (note: this is not a sponsored post!).

We could hear the wasps starting to hit the tin roof next door in just a couple of minutes, as they conked out, so it worked pretty quickly.

Then we went inside and had a cuppa and a yarn - my favourite part of these bee visits.

After a bit, we could see that the steady flow out of wasps from the nest had slowed to possibly nothing, the ones coming in were still a steady stream.

The plan is to go back in a week or 2 to check if they are all dead, may be give them another puff or 2 to finish them off.

Its not great killing things, but it not-greater having wasps killing your bees.

Bees and Wasps

How to tell the difference between bees and wasps? Now I am no expert at all, but the beekeepers are. And it is important to tell the difference, you don't want to squash the wrong thing, or let the wrong thing prosper either. There are a few good summaries online including the

Te Ara Encyclopedia

This is a bee, pic from the Ministry of Health. Little furry yellow number, similar to the ones in the hive above.

This one is one type of wasp, pic from Landcare. Smooth and evil looking. Bit Darth Vader really. For more on NZ wasps, including alien pics, check out the

Landcare website.

And here are our wasp traps. Recycling in action. It would be better still, instead of trapping them and poisoning the wasps, to find the nests and deal to them that way, but in the bush it can be quite a mission to locate them.