"The wasps went absolutely ballistic"
School kids on camp near Dunedin, disturb wasp nest 8pm at night. 2 kids stung 18 & 19 times each. ""(Fairfield School principal) arrived at the camp just after 9pm to find everyone in the main dining room, including "children with their shirts off dressing wounds". Hundreds of wasps were inside the camp, with more flying into windows trying to get inside. "There were wasps everywhere, through the entire camp, in all the rooms." A large number of the students were stung, he said."" ".... There has been a reported spike in wasp numbers around Dunedin, with a woman taken to hospital after she was stung by wasps and a contractor was stung 30 times."" ""Pest-Gone Services Ltd owner-operator Ben Powell said earlier this year wasp numbers had spiked this year. Up to 15 nests a day were being destroyed by staff, he said."" http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/78235267/wasp-attack-on-children-at-camp-looked-liked-a-war-zone-principal-says.html http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11611240
Hubbie got stung on the scalp by a panicking wasp after it flew into the vent of his cycle helmet at Hanmer. 2 hours later he looked like Manimal sporting this huge swollen forehead with an angry red Gorbachov blotch. I gave him a Buff head scarf which he wears on every ride now.
"My grandmother used blue bags in her wringer washing machine. She used to use them for bee stings too. 1960's ?. " I was taught from an early age that you put acid (vinegar) on wasp stings and alkali (blue bag/bicarb) on bee stings. I just Googled this and the general opinion is that, because the venom is absorbed instantly, and there are many other ingredients in the sting, doing this will have no effect! My memory says it did. Anyone else confirm or deny? I always carry prescription antihystamine tablets and take 4 if stung by a wasp (a doctor told me to do that) They zonk me out but they work and after a good sleep I'm OK. If I don't take them my ankles and face will swell up and I'm out of action for 4 or 5 days. Not good whilst tramping. If a nest has easy access I upend a beer bottle of petrol (at night) into it and cover the bottle and hole with a previously loaded shovel full of dirt. Works every time. A friend who was a health inspector had a length of 20mm plastic pipe with one end obviously marked. He would poke that end into carboryl to pick up a 'wodge' of it and place that end in the nest entrance and blow it into the nest. That also worked well. I will ask around the 'DoCies' as to any reports about a connection between the wasps and mossies at Totaranui and report back.
My first-aid kit is probably the heaviest thing in my pack. Thankfully have not had to use it much but it'll be Murphy's Law the one time I leave it behind. At Waikaremoana a few weeks ago and wasps everywhere - took me a day to realise they were coming out of the ground - so didn't mind carrying around those few extra grams. @mantis you can buy most anti-histamines over the counter at the chemist - loratadine, cetirizine, fexofenadine are standard. I pack a few of each type as they can be used pretty safely together if one isn't cutting it. Betadine is the best disinfectant - available in ointment form now but I usually take the throat gargle version as it comes in a small bottle. Dab onto cuts/scratches/blisters or add a few drops to a dish of water for soaking larger wounds.
There is a school of thought that says to keep the first aid kit fairly small and then there will be less chance of its not being taken. Mine weighs 100g and currently contains Stingoes. When Frank broke his leg (but not a compound fracture, thank goodness) we used other stuff to fashion a splint so he could crawl 2km to a 4WD track. We used a pair of long johns and a deconstructed walking pole plus the thin back pad out of his pack.
My first aid kit lives in my pack. Its bigger than that as well. I wont leave it behind as its always in there. Another one at home and one in each car and there is no need to move it
Reckon its 2-4 wasps per square meter up the D'Urville. That's just those cruizing at ground level. Unbelievable.
Up the Travers I once estimated one cruising wasp per sq foot and a nest every 30 metres on the track, let alone all those off in the bush. Those cruising pounced on anything small that moved - saw one grab a large moth and cut it up. They even checked out grass seed heads swaying in the wind. So its not just the honey eating birds that suffer, its also the insect eaters.
Yes it's the immense impact on the invertebrate life that we're not seeing here. If anyone wants to pay me to quietly potter about the valleys bagging nests and spreading bait, I wonder if that wouldn't make for a useful retirement :-)
I just hope they can come up with some form of biological control that can infect the nests. I think they're working on it.
a mite was found years ago that kills them, scientists have been evaluating it, making sure its not going to have another adverse effect on wildlife... no idea of the results.
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