A large wasp nest originally spanning the size of a two-person tent has been found in the Waitākere Ranges Regional Park.
Found in the Karekare beach area of the regional park, Auckland Council says the 1m x 2m x 2.5m nest is believed to have been expanding for up to two years.
Sarah Gibbs, the council's senior ecological advisor, says the nest, which housed tens of thousands of wasps, was one of the largest seen in a long time.
"Fortunately, this nest has collapsed and is no longer active; it's unlikely to be re-populated as the queens will have already moved on to set up home somewhere else," she said.
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Discovered in recent weeks, the "overwintering" nest was built from a collection of sticks, bark and leaves.
"Most wasp nests die off in late autumn after the queens and drones have produced but a nest this size is large enough to survive a winter," Gibbs said.
"Queens in an 'overwintering' nest like this one will establish multiple satellite nests in spring, enabling the wasps to quickly repopulate areas as the weather warms up."
While the large nest was no longer a threat to park users, Gibbs said as summer approaches, it was a timely reminder of the threat of the common wasp.
Aside from its painful sting, the common wasp is an aggressive pest that preys on many native chicks and invertebrates.
"To protect park users and ecological values, we would love to hear from anyone who sees a large nest like this so it can be controlled before it grows bigger, and before the queens spread and create many new nests," Gibbs said.
If you see a large wasp nest this summer season or at any time, do not approach it. Call Auckland Council on 09 301 0101 to let them know its location.