Normal is a four letter word. Extraordinary is the new black.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Waspgate 2012

It all started with a, "Hmmm that's odd." whisper. The kind of 'odd' that usually launches a Stephen King novel, where somehow, a beat up old car, eventually becomes a monster attacking everyone in sight.

We came home from our Thanksgiving weekend away to a couple of wasps, hanging out in the front window of the house. "Hmm, that's odd." I said.
See! See, what I mean?

Then the next day a few more, and a comment from me to the hubby, that it seemed strange and perhaps there was a nest somewhere in the house. He reassured me, that the warmer than normal October, likely had confused these beasts, and while they should have been dying off, they were instead finding their way in, looking for warmth.

The next day, there were even more, and they seemed to be in the playroom area of the house. We vacuumed them up as we saw them, and looked around again for a nest.

Finally, on the fourth night, spurred on by a thought that they were getting in somewhere on the side of the house, I went outside with a flashlight and the 13 year old, in search of a nest near the playroom window.
In the dark we saw nothing out of the ordinary, and so I decided to check in the morning.

The next day I checked downstairs and there were no wasps in the house. I dropped the kids at school, came home, and found fifteen of them on the windows in the playroom.
Now, let's just pause right there....If you have the means and find yourself in this same predicament, do not pass go, do not collect $200. Get your ass to a phone and call a freakin' exterminator. However, if like me, you are a crazy person that thinks that you can take on the world, then please carry on.

I vacuumed up the wasps and then went outside.
This is what I saw. Those little waspy bastards were flying INTO my house. I do not remember inviting them. I do not recall any rules regarding wasp squatters rights, but dammit, they were flying into my house. Again, most would call a professional at this point, and they would be right. Then there are those wired like yours truly.

There were A LOT, like seven or eight thousand of them, coming and going from a hole under the soffits of an overhang at the side of our house. Okay, so maybe not thousands, maybe 100, but really, WASPS. Angry, buzzing WASPS, going into the house. Into the playroom where our kids were playing. Going into the playroom, and I had a playdate scheduled at my house afterschool. Oh this would not do.

I did what any rational human would do, I went to the store and stocked up on ammo. I left the hardware store with a can of expanding foam and a can of 'wasp killa' foam. Aren't I adorable, thinking I could take them down with this.

I got home, and summoned my best, "I am woman, hear me roar." mindset and got to work. First read the directions. On the spray foam, there was a reminder that the foam would seal itself off after a few moments so plan your spraying before, lay down tarps, wear gloves, etc. Whatever! Gloves! I don't need no stinkin' gloves. I have used this stuff a million times to build props. I got this.

Figuring out that they were getting into the playroom by some gaps in the heat vents, I made a plan, sortof-ish. I realized that if I was going to attack them from the outside, I would have to seal up their entrance into the house.

The heating vent had to come off. The heating vent in the ceiling, that was held on by screws. The heating vent, in the ceiling, that was held on by screws, THAT HAD ANGRY WASPS FLYING OUT OF IT. Awesome.

Getting a ladder, and a square head screw driver, I grabbed the can of spray foam gap sealer, and some courage. As an aside, my hubby works with tools and has taught me the names of the screw drivers. I am totally capable with tools, both hand and power, but remembering the names of the tools i not a priority. I am keeping humans alive people. Keeping humans alive, takes priority over knowing which one is a Phillips and which one is a Robertson head screwdriver. Especially since, when I say, "Can I please have the "plus" or the "square" shaped screwdriver?" people know what I mean.

Digression, it happens to the best of us. Umm, so, me, on the ladder, making little squeaky scared noises, I gingerly start to unscrew the first screw on the vent, listening for buzzing. Every muscle in my body tense, anticipating that first rogue wasp flying out. At one point the cat jumps onto the table next to me and I scream like Janet Leigh taking a shower in the Bates motel. After what seems like forever I manage to get the thing undone. No wasps. Sigh!

Prepping the can of spray foam, I position it in the cracks between where the drywall ends and the metal heating duct begins. Knowing I have to work fast, I take a deep breath and start spraying. I start spraying expanding, sticky, gap sealing insulating foam in the gap ON THE CEILING. Good news, gravity still works, and gap sealer is still sticky. While the foam is sealing the gap, it is also falling to the floor. No, sorry, on the laminate floor of the playroom. Remember that little tidbit; plan, lay tarps, wear gloves....yeah.

Is there time to be concerned with the state of the floor? Hell no, there are killer bees trying to invade my house. For all I know, they could be living in the walls, in our pipes, they could be hunting us while we sleep. There is just no time to worry about floors at a time like this. It's anarchy. Or so it seemed at the moment.
The spray foam fell in clumps on the floor, it fell against the wall. This is me, not caring.

Step two, I grabbed a plastic bag, and put it over the inside of the plastic heating vent. I filled the cavity of it full of wasp killing insecticide foam and I shoved that vent grate back up into the ceiling, laughing with sheer evil madness. Just trying flying into my house now, you stinking wasps. I closed up the vent, satisfied that their point of entry was blocked and made my way outside.

Confident they couldn't get in, I aimed that can of insecticide foam at the hole and fired. Again and again, all the way along the seam I fired, and then they came. They came from everywhere, hundreds of them, swarming the hole, trying to get in. As the foam dissipated, I went in for another spray, screaming like a little girl, jumping in and back, squealing and shrieking.

 Dear neighbours, yes, I know, it was quite a sight. You're welcome.

Taking a break I went in for some lunch deciding that they needed a little while to die in peace.
When I returned later, the ones swarming the holes were gone. All that was left was wasp corpses, encased in foam, sliding down the vinyl siding. With the hole clear, I took that can and stuck it in the holes and fired deep into the ceiling of the house- emptying the chamber, giggling maniacally, screaming, "WASP KILLA! BOOYAH!" Again, neighbours, re: The show...You're welcome.

Confident in wasp colony domination, I continued the day. Sure, there were giant blobs of spray foam hanging from the ceiling and the house smelled of insecticide spray, but "MOMMA WAS VICTORIOUS." Also, remember, momma had a playdate to host. Priorities!

With enough time to clean up, pick up the kids and be ready for the playdate, I congratulated myself on being able to, 'do it all'. Modern woman, can do, all that jazz. Rah, rah, sisterhood. No exterminator needed.

That evening, we noticed a few wasps in the florescent light fixture in the TV room. Since the fixture is sealed and the only way they could get in was from the ceiling I said, "Hmmm, that's odd."

The next morning my hubby woke up to discover a few stragglers on the windows in the playroom, but no more wasps coming and going from the hole in the soffit. He congratulated me on a battle well fought and won.

I left him at home, heading into town, for a family birthday party. Before leaving, I asked him to follow my tracks and make sure that I got them all. The last thing we wanted was some angry trapped wasps to rebuild their colony deeper in the walls of our home.
He reassured me that he had plans to respray and get some gap filler and take the siding off to fill the hole that they had gotten in through.

One would think that this is where the story ends, but as it turns out, I took out the summer homes...

This right here is the summer house and guest cottage.

While I was in town, hubby updates me that he has gone outside, lifted the vinyl siding and discovered how they are getting in. He plugs the holes, but can still hear buzzing in through the hole. I tell him that he needs to spray again, but make sure he can see them, because if he doesn't hit them, and the hive, then they will be driven further into the house. So uncool. He carried on with the battle, and did a little investigating.

At the birthday party I got this text...

Yes, that's right, my thoughts were, rip out drywall.
So, rip out drywall was exactly what hubby and the teenager did.

What did they find? They found a volleyball sized hive, tucked in against one of the floor joists in the ceiling. At a birthday party with the two little ones, I missed all the fun, but got a play by play from them as they went.

This is where the hive sat. By the time I got home, it was no more. Also, a good part of the ceiling, was no more.

So many lessons learned....
One, exterminators are your friend. 
Two, wasps are wiley and will eat through insulation to get at the sweet, sweet warm exterior of your home. 
Three, when you say, "Rip out drywall to hubby and teenager, they will go to town. 
Four, when arriving home to a wasp free house, that also now comes with a four by eight hole in the ceiling, the best course of action is to go full ostrich and snuggle on the couch with the family and watch Madagascar. The hole, will definitely still be there tomorrow. 
Five, a hole in the ceiling is a fantastic motivator to plan that whole re-drywalling the TV room thing that you and hubby have been talking about for a while.