Explaining wasp population structure in the Hauraki Gulf

Kararehe Kino Issue 30, December 2017

Invasive Vespula (common and German) wasps have a negative impact on the environment throughout New Zealand, preying on native invertebrates and competing with native nectar-feeding birds and invertebrates for the honeydew produced by native scale insects in beech forests. Both wasp species also inflict large economic costs on the farming, beekeeping, horticulture and forestry industries, and are a major nuisance to recreational users of wildlands. There has been renewed interest in managing these painful pests, with a New Zealand’s Biological Heritage National Science Challenge research programme to develop novel wasp suppression and eradication tools. The development of such tools requires an understanding of what factors limit or regulate wasp populations, a topic that PhD student Julia Schmack (University of Auckland) is investigating.

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