Camp abandoned after wasp attack

By Rhys Chamberlain

Wasp attack victim Daniel Wheeler (front, 9), of Fairfield School, shows the results of the stings yesterday, with fellow campers behind him. Photo / Otago Daily Times / Gregor Richardson
Wasp attack victim Daniel Wheeler (front, 9), of Fairfield School, shows the results of the stings yesterday, with fellow campers behind him. Photo / Otago Daily Times / Gregor Richardson

Dunedin's wasps have struck again, resulting in a school camp being called off and leaving some children "traumatised".

Fifty-two year 5 Fairfield School pupils were evacuated from Waiora Scout Camp after a game of spotlight turned nasty on Tuesday night.

A wasp nest was unknowingly disturbed, sending "hundreds'' of wasps into a frenzy.

Teacher Jane Wilden said many children and adults had "multiple stings", including one girl who suffered 12.

"Within five minutes, some children felt things crawling over them and began screaming with fright," Mrs Wilden said.

"Some [pupils] are really shaken up [and] many were terribly scared."

Pupil Daniel Wheeler (9) was stung six times, but said he was not afraid of wasps.

"I couldn't see anything and then I heard screaming and everything.

"I felt this big pinch on my arm. I saw the wasp and it was still on there.

"Its stinger was so far in there. I had to flick it out,'' he said.

The campers gathered in the hall after the attack and a decision was made to call principal Andy Larson and send the children home a day early.

"I went out and had a look and in the toilets there were hundreds of them [wasps]," Mr Larson said.

"It was an attack. The wasps were against the [hall] window just belting it, trying to get in."

The correct procedures had been followed during the attack and immediately afterwards and the right decision had been made to send pupils home, Mr Larson said. The pupils were home by 11pm.

Scouts New Zealand head of development and capability Mark Long said scout camp manager Neil Moyle would "get right on the wasps'' and check the campsite for any more.

The camp would now be checked every fortnight for nests and the school would be refunded the money paid for the camp, Mr Long said.

In January, a woman was attacked by wasps in Belleknowes and last month a man was stung more than 30 times in Waitati.

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.

- Otago Daily Times

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