News of Zealand

The Battle to Remove Rotorua's Gigantic Wasp Nest Enters Day Five

An exterminator on the job said the monster nest could have housed over a million wasps.
Now imagine a million of these. Image via Shutterstock

What’s worse than a wasp? Well, definitely a gigantic wasp nest that not even exterminators can get rid of. Yeah, fuck that.

An army of German wasps – a particularly aggressive species – is refusing to budge from a monster nest in Hamurana, just north of Rotorua, NZ Herald reports. Exterminators are on their fifth day of trying to destroy the lot, but it’s proving a mighty challenge.

This nest is two metres tall, two metres wide, and absolutely terrifying. Bay Pest Services owner-operator Chris Brunel has worked in the industry for 30 years and said it was the biggest nest he had ever seen. He estimated a nest this size would house over a million wasps.

After a third dose of poison yesterday, Brunel said roughly 30 percent of the wasps remained and "hundreds of thousands" dead wasps covered the track. "It's a bit of carnage," he said. "But the birds will swoop in and clean it up… they won't be affected by the poison though."

Manaaki Whenua Landcare Research's Dr Bob Brown told the NZ Herald the “whopper of a nest” would have taken about 16 months to reach that size. Usually, German wasps have a 10 percent chance of surviving winter. But, thanks to climate change, we could be seeing a whole lot more this size because mild winters make it easier for these species to survive.

Interestingly, what could end this nest is its social structure. Large nests are considered to be a collection of smaller nests because there are multiple queens, instead of just one. "I haven't heard of these large nests continuing through a second winter, probably because the nest grows so large that the pheromonally controlled social structure breaks down," Brown said.