Polistine and vespine wasps were captured in Malaise traps in two fire-modified shrubland habitats of varying canopy height and composition at Lake Ohia, Northland, New Zealand. Prey consumption rates were calculated for the Asian paper wasp (Polistes chinensis antennalis) occupying these two areas of shrubland and a home garden in Whangarei, Northland. The sites were systematically searched for nests and wasp prey determined by intercepting foragers returning to nests.
The measurement of parasitism rates of wasp nests;lt Pelorus Bridge, New Zealand, at different distances from the initial release point suggests that the mean displacement of the parasitoid has increased by 1—1.5 km y(-1) from 1988 to 1993. Since average parasitism rates within this radius at any given site show little trend over time, this suggests an approximate 3-fold increase in the total parasitoid population each year, two-thirds of which is devoted to dispersal and one-third to maintaining local populations.
Honeydew, the sugary exudate of the scale insect Ultracoelostoma brittini, is an important food source in black beech (Nothofagus solandri var. solandri) forests in the South Island of New Zealand. Two of the most prominent foragers of honeydew are honey bees (Apis mellifera) and wasps (Vespula germanica and V. vulgaris). Observations in the field and using a captive bee hive were used to investigate competition between bees and wasps feeding on honeydew.
Prey collected by Vespula vulgaris and V. germanica were sampled by intercepting foragers returning to nests at two sites in scrubland-pasture near Hamilton. About 12% of returning foragers carried animal prey and 5% carried wood pulp. The remaining 83% carried no external load. The most common prey item for both species was Diptera, followed by Lepidoptera and Araneae (spiders). Even in similar habitats the two species collected different prey, with V. germanica collecting more Diptera and V. vulgaris more Lepidoptera.