Wasp Toxic Baiting at Craigieburn

14 May 2014

Great news - we got confirmation that we have got funding to pay for helping with the wasp toxic baiting in Feb '15. We have got accommodation at the Craigieburn Environmental Centre (free of charge) & even a cook for making evening meals:-) This last wasp season was very atypical with their lifecycle running 3-4 weeks later than usual. The
baiting protocol is being revised in case we get another similar spring/summer. This could mean that we do the baiting a week or two later in Feb. We did a small amount of baiting according to the protocol this year & got a very poor take due to low wasp numbers but then numbers took off in March! 100 school kids from 4 different schools got stung in the first week of March in the Basin.

It means that we will be doing more pre wasp number monitoring lines & delay baiting until the critical density is reached before doing the mass baiting. We will have an indication by mid Jan as to when baiting is likely to happen. In Jan 13 we had the right density by late Jan - it's all so dependent on the weather in the preceding months.

Wasps are certainly getting more coverage in the press with more attacks on groups/individuals being reported, the discovery of the Willow aphid which will further support an increase in wasp numbers along waterways & a wasp mite  discovered in Arthur's Pass. The latter is great news for a possible biological control & maybe ready for trials by the time the main part of our project comes to an end in 2017.

Hopefully the confirmed $20/hr will encourage more volunteers to come on board. We certainly aim to get it done before Uni goes back. I will keep you informed as the year progresses.

Penny Wright WERC Wasp Project Manager

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