I am a scientist working on the biological control of invasive social wasps in New Zealand. Using molecular techniques we have been able to trace the origins of one of the species, Vespula vulgaris, to the southern third of England (from Cambridge south).
I am planning a trip to England beginning 4th of September to survey and collect natural enemies of Vespula wasps. Could you please point me in the direction of who would be a good person/people to talk to about obtaining permission to work on wasps? Will I need to apply for a permit to gain access to collect (dig up) wasp nests? My main objective will be finding the parasitoid wasp, Sphecophaga vesparum. If the funding comes through for next year, I plan tobegin work on the parasitic hover fly, Volucella inanis. So, I will also be checking for their presence in any nests as well. Host wasp species include Vespula vulgaris, V. germanica & Vespa crabro, among others. Once enough are collected, I will then export the parasitoids back to NZ for use in our biocontrol programme. Since these wasps are native to England I can put back any nests that I survey which are not parasitized and they will usually fully recover.
Do you have any suggestions on where I can start? Does anyone know of accessible wasp nests? Any help will be very much appreciated.
Dr Bob Brown | Researcher
LANDCARE RESEARCH MANAAKI WHENUA
PO Box 69040, Lincoln 7640 | Gerald Street, Lincoln 7608
DDI: +64 3 321 9605