A monstrous wasp nest measuring about 2m wide and 2m tall which was found bordering a Hamurana property is proving a tough opponent for local exterminators.
Bay Pest Services owner-operator Chris Brunel was called to the Hamurana address when a person doing riverbank restoration spotted the nest in the trees near a lifestyle block.
"It's the biggest nest I've seen in my 30 years doing this," Brunel said.
He said the nest belonged to German wasps; a species that was particularly nasty and aggressive.
More than a million German wasps could be inside the nest, he said.
"I'm not one easily fazed by wasp nests, but when I saw this, I thought, 'oh boy,'" Brunel said.
With the track beneath the nest covered in dead wasps from Monday's attempt at extermination, the nest was still buzzing despite five times the usual amount of poison being used, twice.
Brunel said the high position, steep slope, and scale of the nest limited how much the exterminators could get to.
Getting rid of a nest would usually be a simple one day job but Brunel said this could take at least four days.
The two exterminators tasked with the challenge felt the wrath of the wasps on Monday as thousands swarmed them. Despite being covered head-to-toe in protective gear one was stung.
"All hell broke loose."
"It happens occasionally. When you get thousands of wasps descend on you, there's a possibility you could get stung through the suit.
"It's not a very deep sting [through the suit] ... but it makes you pay attention," he said.
The battle, now into its third day , would be extended until at least tomorrow.
While the exterminators expected some wasps to still be alive yesterday , Brunel was surprised at how many there were as they expected to cut the nest open and finish the job.
"They're pretty angry."
The team smashed the end of one of the chambers to expose the larvae and said they would leave them to settle down today , and come back tomorrow.
If ever under siege by a swarm of wasps, Brunel said it was important to duck and weave through the foliage, "and run as fast as possible".
Brunel said exterminators had been kept extremely busy this summer, saying it was the worst wasp season he had in a decade.
While he said it was difficult to pinpoint a reason for the influx, he put it down to how dry it was.
The Guinness World Record for the largest wasp nest recorded was about 5.5m in circumference on a farm in Waimauku, West Auckland, in 1963.