MIL OSI – Source: Department of Conservation – Pest wasps cost economy $130 million a year The study, An evaluation of the cost of pest wasps (Vespula species) in New Zealand, by the Sapere Research Group, was jointly funded by the Department of Conservation and the Ministry for Primary Industries. Wasps are one of the most damaging invertebrate pests in New Zealand; they harm our native birds and insects and compete for food with our native species. If you put together all the wasps in honeydew beech forests they would weigh more than the weight of birds, rodents and stoats combined. Wasps taking beech honeydew, Pelorus Bridge Reserve, Marlborough This new study has found that wasps also have a major financial impact on primary industries and the health sector. This includes:
- More than $60 million a year in costs to pastoral farming from wasps disrupting bee pollination activities, reducing the amount of clover in pastures and increasing fertiliser costs.
- Almost $9 million a year cost to beekeepers from wasps attacking honey bees, robbing their honey and destroying hives.
- Wasp-related traffic accidents estimated to cost $1.4 million a year.
- Over $1 million each year spent on health costs from wasp stings.
- On top of the direct costs, almost $60 million a year is lost in unrealised honey production from beech forest honeydew which is currently being monopolised by wasps. Honeydew is also a valuable energy source for kaka, tui and bellbirds.