Arrowtown’s wasp-buster has died.
Eeon Ryan, 82, destroyed thousands of wasp nests in the Wakatipu after settling here in the mid-’90s.
Nicknamed ‘The Wasp Man’, Eeon performed the service on a voluntary basis, only charging for petrol when travelling out of Arrowtown to do a job.
He was listed on Queenstown Lakes District Council’s website as the go-to man for wasp extermination.
QLDC, which paid for the powder he used, put him through a chemical-handling course.
Two summers ago, Eeon destroyed about 800 nests in Arrowtown alone.
He told Mountain Scene in 2009 that he first learned to destroyed wasps after seeking advice from a beekeeper in the 1960s after his daughter got stung by one.
“They damn near drove us mad on the farm in Southland. It became a hate after that.”
Eeon said he’d been stung a few times but never suffered a serious reaction.
He enjoyed helping people: “It’s not an arduous thing.
“It’s a matter of walking round and, like I tell people, trying to look intelligent.
“It beats the hell out of doing nothing.”
Eeon’s funeral will be held at 1pm on Wednesday at Arrowtown Hall.
He is survived by his wife Maggie, six children, 14 grandchildren and one great-grandchild.