Aligned research

  • Vespula vulgaris queen.

    Vespula vulgaris queen.

The Vulgar Wasp Professor Phil Lester, Victoria University of Wellington
The Vulgar Wasp cover
The Vulgar Wasp cover

Wasps are feared and hated by many of us, with good reason – they sting. Wasps also place massive pressure on New Zealand’s biodiversity, especially on native birds and insects, including our much-loved honeybees. Phil Lester has spent much of his career studying invasive wasps, ants and other insect pests, and some of his research is aligned to the BioHeritage Challenge. Phil recently drew all his research together in a book.

Native to Europe, Vespula vulgaris, the common wasp, has been inadvertently transported around the globe. Today in New Zealand the highest known wasp densities are up to 40 nests per hectare. Although we know them as pests, wasps are also amazingly smart, efficient predators. Should we learn to live with them? Should we control their populations, or strive to eradicate every last one from New Zealand?

This book was inspired by the BioHeritage Challenge’s work using the common wasp as a case study for new pest management technologies.

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