Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Wasps In The House

Living the simple life isn't always so simple as I have mentioned a few times.  Yesterday's refrigerator problem turned out to be a malfunctioning circuit board.  It was causing the refrigerator to never shut off.  By doing this the self defrosting feature didn't work because it was trying to defrost and cool at the same time.  The repair person said it was like running your heater and your air conditioner at the same time.  It is a common problem for Amana/Whirlpool/Maytag appliances.  It is the same unit, but it is sold under a different name.  Although it's a common problem, the part has to be ordered and so we will be without a refrigerator for a couple days (if we are lucky).  It is planned obsolescence at its worse.  An appliance that is only 3 1/2 years old shouldn't need a major repair like this.

Today we have an even bigger problem.  My husband and my dad were sitting in the dining room a couple nights ago.  All of a sudden my husband got stung on the neck.  It was a small bee, which he killed by slapping his neck while being stung.  We didn't think a lot about it because he isn't particularly allergic to bees.  Then later my dad was sitting watching TV and he got stung on his right temple.  It hurt for a very long time.  I gave him a Benadryl and put some numbing cream on it.  It took at least two hours for the sting to go away.  He still has a red mark, and he probably will for a while.  Then yesterday I noticed we had several bees on the window.  I used the fly swatter on them and started a mission to find the source.  I identified them as Yellow Jackets. At first I thought they were Carpenter Bees.  I knew Carpenter Bees liked log homes, but the stain we use has an insecticide in it and we have never had a problem before.  We see the little critters dart in and out of small holes in the logs.  They drill right into the wood.  They are a more solitary bee and don't make a big nest.

This is a Carpenter Bee hole in the log.

I discovered these Yellow Jackets had set up a colony in an out of the way area which is hard to see.  It is back in a dark corner of the deck.  The chinking had broken away and the bees took advantage.  They had moved into the house.

Chinking is a rubberized material that seals between the logs. It keeps cold air and insects from getting in.

The next thing I had to figure out was how they were getting into the house.  I stood and watched.  This is what I found.  We also have chinking on the inside of the logs.  Because houses shift by expanding and contracting, the chinking can get small holes in it.  I think if an air bubble in it pops, a small hole can appear.  We have to go through the house every year or so to check for these small holes.

In the chinking is a small hole, and there is a bee close by.

I thought the bees were coming out of the little hole, but I wasn't sure until I found another hole nearby.  I caught one of those little bees red handed.

I don't know if this guy is coming or going, but I caught him.

At this point, I grabbed some chewing gum.  I chewed a piece and stuck it over the holes to keep any more bees from coming into the room. 

I have found the entrance and exit points, but now I have to figure out how to chase them away (or kill them but don't tell anyone).  I read that petroleum products will stop them from laying eggs and hatching new bees.  They said carburetor cleaner would chase them out.  We don't have any but we have some WD40.  We are trying that now.  Hopefully by morning they will have found a new home. If they choose to stay, they will have to pay the consequences.  The good part of this story is that they leave in the winter and don't come back to the same nest.  If we plug the entrance and exit points, we should be fine.  At least they weren't honey bees.  We could have had a wall full of honey.

Now wasn't the Simple.

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