Asian Paper Wasp Polistes chinensis

These have started appearing in our garden over the last couple of years. They are sneaky little buggers, building their nests low in shrubs, so that the unsuspecting gardener gets stung, whilst happily picking lavender, or trimming the Rosemary. They also nest under overhanging pieces of timber, inside pallets, & generally tucked into places you don’t expect to find them. Although not as aggressive as the larger Common Wasp, they can still give you a painful sting, as we well know! We have 2 sorts of Paper Wasp in NZ, the Australian variety, which doesn’t have stripes, I think it generally nests higher up, in house eaves etc, & prefers a warmer clime, so is found further North.

The Asian one has distinct stripes, & the typical nipped- in body, or wasp waist. It flies with it’s legs dangling below. We often see them around, apparently they search out caterpillars to take back to the nest to feed the larvae.My Mum grows lots of Swan plants to attract the Monarchs into the garden, & it’s noticeable that a lot fewer of the small caterpillars are making it to adulthood.

They also gather fibres off of wood & plant stalks to build up the cells. The nests are quite beautiful, but only when devoid of their owners. When we find them we generally give them a spray with fly spray, I’ve read that you can snip the nest into a plastic bag & freeze them, but haven’t been game enough to try.