View original post • View latest posts • Reply
We're coming for about 4 months of summer tramping, and I've done enough research to have pretty realistic expectations regarding wasps.
I'm left with a few specific wasp questions though:
1) Any best methods & practices to avoid bumbling & stumbling into nests or swarms? Should I always be able to spot the nests, or are they impossible to avoid? We're not worried about individual wasps, but would sure like to avoid multiple stings if possible...
2) If you have no reason to think you're allergic, do trampers still carry EpiPens? If not, what do you carry to treat a possible allergic reaction?
3) I've read numerous trip reports where trampers were stung 5-20 times. None of these reports mentioned aborting the tramp because of this. How debilitating are these multiple-sting incidents? How often do they occur?
4) Can/do they sting through gaiters? How about through loose-fitting nylon/poly hiking pants & shirts? Do they like to crawl up inside clothes, and will tucking cuffs into socks help? Does lighter or darker colored clothing make any difference? Assuming you're covered up except for hands, wrists, face & neck -- is that where they will go -- i.e. are they "smart" enough to go for the bare skin like sandflies?
Thanks for any advice...
Hello again. Other people might have additional or conflicting advice, but here goes:
1) If you're going to stumble into a wasps nest then you will, but just do your best not to annoy them and move away, and you'll probably be fine. In my experience it doesn't happen very often, but that's probably a reflection of the places I most frequently visit. You could quite easily walk straight past a wasp nest without even noticing it. The worst times I've had have been with groups, when someone up the front stirs up wasps without realising, and the wasps take it out on a person walking 10-15 seconds behind them.
2) Not in my experience. Some well prepared large groups might have them in a first aid kit, but I think usually they'd only be carried by people who know they're allergic.
3) Well I was stung about 6 times a couple of months ago, and the main annoyance was that it kept stinging for much of the day then went away. It was easy to block out after a while, though, especially when I was spending more energy walking.
4) Well I was stung through a gaiter 2 months ago, but it was more because the wasp had somehow managed to crawl inside. The I un-did the other one and there was a wasp stuck in the velcro. They're less likely to get through clothing if you're wearing it, but they tend to go for bright colours... which is possibly what attracted them to my bright blue gaiters in the first place. I just walk around in shorts and a short-sleeved shirt though, apart from that occasion I've never had a problem despite having been in the vicinity of many wasps in the past. It's just a case of being careful not to annoy them too much when you see them.
Wasps are only a problem if your disturb a nest. If that happens, run like hell until they stop following you. It has only happened to me once and luckily I was the fist person in the party. The first couple of people to walk through generally get off scott free, it is the 3rd or 4th member of the party that gets attacked. So I guess the best defence is to make sure you are walking at the front.
If you find a problem nest is a popular spot, advise DOC and they can attend to it.
In summer you can hear the humming in the forest (mostly beech forest where honey dew is present on the trees (black mould stuff)
We rub antihistamine on the strings and this only relieves it but it is much better than nothing. (we are not allergic to them)
They normally go for your legs and sometimes you can see them coming out of the ground(mostly after you have been stung, then you run a couple metres then your fine.)
I remember once my father got stung on his hand a few times.
For some reason they are in popular areas! During easter we were out there for 9 days then 10 min from car dad got stung!
Good advice here -- thanks.
Just back from a "training regimen" hike here in the Appalachian Mtns in the US -- getting ready for our NZ trip.
Anyway, as I sit here and pick off about 20-25 ticks I find myself wondering if there are ticks in NZ?
Hope not, but with deer, dogs & possums I'm guessing there are...?
Ticks yes, Lyme disease no. Never picked one up here myself though.
Don't know about other tick-bourne illnesses though.
throw some antihistamine tabs into your first aid, they come in handy when youve been feeding ovder feeding the sandflys, stops the itching. i think it will help with the wisp stings as well, but im not a doctor!
Yes, agree with rileyz. Antihistamine tablets are a good bet. I always carry them in summer (especially late summer)on the advice of my local chemist, who also advises tablets are more effective than a topical cream. Wasps take more interest in you when you stop, so keep moving in more heavily infested areas. I have been told the colour blue is most attractive to wasps but don't know the veracity of that. Luck.
Hi, I usually get multiple stings at least twice a year. This year I managed to avoid it. I guess it was because I didn't travel in a group, only with my partner. Some strategies we use are:
Wear camo type colours
Don't eat fish on the trip
As you walk along, look for wasps emerging from and entering the ground at a common point. They don't fly in and out of the nest at a steep angle.
If you have to pass a nest, go quickly and steadily but quietly.
Carry stingoes topical ointment in season and antihistamines.
Avoid wasp infested vegetation from Feb till May esp. beech forest. The West Coast and above the bushline are safe generally.
Don't touch beech tree trunks as you go.
If you get stung, alert the party. I'm good at this because I can't help screaming!
Flag this post if it is spam, off-topic, or inappropriate.