Wasps on the attack this autumm

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Wasps have been active in the beech forests of Mt Somers this autumn, even launching themselves upon a school group in one incident.

The Ashburton Courier understands a school trip to the area last month quickly turned into a nightmare when many children, teachers and parents were bombarded by a swarm of angry wasps near Woolshed Creek Hut. Multiple people were stung.

The school did not wish to comment, however, the Department of Conservation confirmed the incident.

Geraldine senior ranger heritage and visitors Murray Thomas also understood a number of stings had occurred.

‘‘Since then, we have gone out and poisoned any nests we could find in the area,’’ Thomas said.

Wasp numbers in the area were weather dependent.

Barry Austin of the Mt Somers Walkway Society controls wasps in the area.

‘‘With higher numbers during warm, dry summers like this one,’’ he said.

It was currently not feasible to eradicate wasps from the area, however, the insects were controlled.

An ongoing programme led by the Mt Somers Walkway Society involved using the bait Vespex to kill them, Thomas said.

‘‘Vespex is used seasonally when the wasps are feeding on protein, which is typically in late summer.’’

Society member Barry Austin is the Department of Conservation’s go-to man for nuisance wasp issues.