WWF's Conservation Innovation Awards

Gathering votes
Gathering votes


Wasps are becoming a major problem in NZ to people venturing outdoors, few people have not been stung and the stings are painful and the effects long lasting, often extending over a week.


Finding wasp's nests is often difficult, they can be underground or hidden under stairways or decks.


This device would be located outdoors in an area traversed by wasps. It silently monitors their flight paths over a day and then works out in which direction the wasp's nest is located. The location of the nest might now be obvious, if not then the device is relocated and left for another day, this second direction line should cross the first at the nest location enabling appropriate destruction.


What conservation problem are you trying to solve?

Prevalence of invasive wasps

How are you going to solve this conservation problem?

With a wasp tracking device enabling location and destruction of nest.


What makes your idea new and unique?

Current wasp nest poisoning methods rely on a large grid of poison stations that have to be set up by a trained operator at a certain time of year using expensive lures and poison. 

This idea uses a rented device that can be used by any householder for a small fee. The householder can then poison the nest himself using conventional poison powder.

Who will use your idea, and how will they benefit?

Any householder can use the device with 5 minutes of training.

What tasks or activities do you need investment for? How would you spend a $25,000 grant?

The idea is not currently operational but the techniques proposed for wasp path tracking are used in other proven tracking applications.

The grant would be used to develop the hardware and software for the device along with its packaging into an  outdoor tracker. 

Development schedule:


1. Proof of concept: Using standard sensing and processing hardware build a prototype that demonstrates the core of the method. 30% of funds, 2 months

2. Build 2 more devices for field trials, noting that wasps only fly for 4 months or so at the start of the year. Trial these in rural areas for 1 month, 50% of funds

3. Patent device's features 20% of funds. Timing dependent of result of trials. 


Are you a New Zealand citizen or resident?


I have read and agree to the Crowdicity Terms of Use, the Conservation Innovation Awards 2016 Supplemental Terms and Conditions, and the Crowdicity Community Guidelines


List five other ideas posted in the challenge that excite you. Why?

A1.1 The trap monitor is a good idea as it can be justified economically as empty traps that get inspected are a waste of resources and tripped traps are a waste of resources until cleared.

A1.2 Drone Counts has considerable potential as the cost and ground based effort is expensive in time and resources. Again easy to justify economically when drones have longer ranges.

A1.3 Cellium Is great as it enables the Trap monitor over longer ranges

A1.4  Bio-diversity Statistics Platform presumably as a database is exciting because as human medicine is statistics driven so should conservation be.

!2.5 FenceOFf (although one of our entries) is exciting as it is the only way to achieve a predator free NZ using methods that are proven and available today.  

How could you improve your idea?

Our idea, Waspex, is currently aimed at conducting the research and development to take the idea to a practicable and operational device. The improvements will come when it is proven to work, we can then reduce the cost, improve the efficiency (eg. get faster results, make the results more accurate) in order to make wasp nest location more affordable and easier to do as a community project. Currently we expect it to take 12 hours to get a direction reading, we could see this being reduced to 6 or 4 hours with development. Costs currently would be in the hundreds of dollars per device, reducing this to below a hundred dollars makes the devices more affordable and we could hopefully  go to distributing them on a free loan basis rather than rental. 

edited on Oct 17, 2016 by Becky Wilson

Graham . Oct 10, 2016

Hi Gotcha, how much have you done on this? I have existing hardware that would come pretty close to your prototype (including hardware DSP), and even drives a display that could indicate direction of flight.


Christopher Wingate Oct 14, 2016

Dear fellow entrant.
I am hoping to get your support to vote for Dr Maggie Evans who only needs another 12 votes and needs them today. Her work is “critically important science” to help save critically endangered birds such as the Kakapo. Please take a look and lets all give her our support. We are all in this together. Cheers- https://wwf-nz.crowdicity.com/post/285779


Michele Frank Oct 14, 2016

please complete the last milestone you need to answer two additional questions in the form. This action needs to be completed before i can approve thanks Michele