Arrowtown’s wasp buster Eeon Ryan isn’t joking when he says this wasp-nesting season is the busiest he’s seen.
Ryan, who warned Mountain Scene readers last month that wasps were rampant in the Wakatipu, is pictured with one of the biggest nests he’s encountered after exterminating its inhabitants last weekend.
The ornately-crafted nest – made from the paper-like substance wasps produce from wood pulp – was discovered in an old bus amongst fake flowers and other belongings of Arrowtown couple Elle and John Mowat.
Elle Mowat didn’t realise her storage facility – a bus formerly owned by World War II fighter pilot and aerial top-dresser Fred “Popeye” Lucas – was home to thousands of wasps till a guest staying with the couple spotted it.
“It was actually quite funny because two days before I’d been stung on the hand by a wasp. [Wasp numbers] have been horrendous this year,” she says.
The couple contacted Ryan, who swiftly dealt to the critters using poisonous powder sprayed into the nest.
“I just put my gear on and went in, puffed it up [with the powder] and walked out again deliberately,” says Ryan – who’s blitzed about 400 nests so far this season.
He also discovered another wasp nest underground on the Mowat property.
Mowat says she hasn’t got the nerve to see the nest in the bus just yet.
“It’s just going to stay there for a while, I’d say.
“I’m going to make sure they’re bloody well dead before I go anywhere near it.”