Mite might solve wasp problem


Landcare scientists are looking at a mite which might solve the wasp problem:

There has been an explosion in the wasp population this year, with an increase in the number of willow aphids fuelling their food supply.
Scientists are looking at a mite, which causes wing deformities, which could collapse wasp colonies.
But Landcare Research scientist Ronny Groenteman warns there’s no quick solution.

“It’s a matter of several years to first of all find out if these mites are a suitable organism,” says Ms Groenteman. . .

We get the odd wasp at home but I’ve never managed to track down any nests.

But we’ve found several at our crib in Wanaka.

Nature might have a good reason for wasps but I’ve yet to find one and have no compunction about killing them.

The best way to get rid of nests is to wait until evening then dose the entrance with carbaryl so wasps entering carry it in with them.

I found two nests under sleepers in the garden this year and have seen no sign of wasps comign and going from either of them since I did that to them.

We’ve also got a trap laced with honey and water in a tree but that only catches the odd wasp.

A mite which could collapse whole colonies would be much more effective, if it works.


War on mice – updated


The Listener says the late Sir Paul Callaghan’s plan to eradicate all introduced pests won’t work , at least not yet:

Callaghan’s inspiring, visionary and audacious idea of ridding the entire country of pests, allowing natural plants and wildlife to flourish, is worthy of his name and one that New Zealanders should embrace wholeheartedly but for a single, crucial flaw: it will not work. Perhaps one day it might, but not yet. The resources, technology, commitment and public buy-in are not available at present to make the plan achievable.

I can assure you that I have bought in to the idea, am fully committed to it and am doing all I can by stepping up my annual war on mice.

We almost always get signs of invasions in autumn and early winter and this year it’s particularly bad. I’ve spent three hours this morning cleaning out the pantry after spotting mouse dirt there and am about to attack a cupboard in the hall where we’ve never seen evidence of them before.

I took Mark’s advice and bought a rat zapper – although the jury is out on its effectiveness.

I set it in the garage where something took the bait and escaped unscathed. I then brought it inside and caught a mouse the next night. The following morning the bait was still there, the light wasn’t flashing but there was a dead mouse a metre away from the trap.

I moved it to the hall, caught another mouse and put fresh bait in it. This morning the light was flashing and the bait was gone with no sight of whatever it was that took it. *

Conventional traps have caught three mice and I’ve got them set in strategic places. All were still set this morning, but I’m not convinced that means I’ve caught all the intruders.

I’ve also laid poison in places pets and children can’t get to it.

Some battles have been won but the war continues. Sir Paul’s goal is a big one but if we all do what we can, it won’t be an impossible one.

UPDATE:  * My farmer’s just told me he got rid of a dead mouse from the rat zapper while I was away at the weekend but hadn’t re-baited it or turned off the light. My faith in it is restored.

I ventured into the hall cupboard to clean it this afternoon and found the mice had been dining on foam disposable cups and candles.

I also discovered a hole in the wall where a plug had been removed which is probably where at least some of the mice were getting in. I nailed a bit of wood across it and also stuffed tin foil round all the gaps round pipes in the kitchen.

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