We were called out to a client’s home a few days ago because there were paper wasps in her living room. And by now, the nests outside have died off, and next year’s Queens have gone into hiding for the winter. All doors and windows were closed and yet there were new wasps appearing daily and hovering in the same window in the family room.

This is where the detective skills of my technician really came through. The first thing he noticed was that the wasps always went to the same window, although there were a lot of them to choose from. He knew that any flying insect that gets into an enclosed space will fly towards the light. The light is always strongest in Portland on the South and West sides of a house. But that fact did not tell him where the source of the daily invasion was. Sometimes the source of these late season wasps are the gaps around ceiling light fixtures, smoke detectors, and ceiling heating vents. But they all looked fine. The only other possible opening to the outside was the fire place.

He was told that they had not used it, or thought about it, in years. He poked his head into the fire box and saw that the flue was open. He could feel air moving around him and going up the chimney. Of course he proceeded to close it and noticed that the air flow stopped. Two problems solved! The paper wasps had still been active because of the heated air going up the flue. And, closing off the heat flow was going to significantly lower our clients heating bill. So, the tip for the season is, Check your fireplace flue to be sure that it is closed, when you are not using it.

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