Reuben Saltzman

Avoiding Wasps

I’ve seen grown men act like sissies around little critters like mice, spiders, and leeches.  Not me though.


I act like a sissy around wasps.  I get stung every year.

This year it happened while I was inspecting a fireplace; I reached up inside the flue to close the damper, and a wasp stung me on the arm.  That’s right, a wasp made it’s way down the flue because it knew I was inside the house and it had it out for me.  Now I’m a little paranoid every time I reach up inside a fireplace.

Last year I got stung while riding an ATV.  I was flying along a trail and the wasp went right inside my helmet and stung me on the forehead.  That wasn’t just painful, it was also dangerous.

The year before that, I got stung while inspecting an electric panel; I didn’t notice the wasp nest below the panel, and I just started opening it.  Shame on me.  I got the heck out of there in a hurry, and I was lucky to get away with only one sting.

The year before that, I got stung while walking up a driveway to the house I was about to inspect.  I got stung on the side of my neck, right under the collar of my shirt.  I dropped my ladder and tool bag, ripped my shirt off, and started furiously batting at my neck and back.  Thankfully, my clients hadn’t yet arrived to see the goofy display I put on, but it must have been a pretty funny sight for anyone looking out their window.

On and on the list goes.  To lower my risk of getting stung, I try to follow these rules when inspecting houses:

Wasp Nest Under Gutter

  • I bang on gutters with my ladder before climbing on the roof.  Wasps are very sensitive to vibration; if there’s a wasp nest nearby, they’ll quickly swarm the area.  I forgot to do this a couple weeks ago, but luckily it was still early in the morning and the wasps were all still sleeping, so it was uneventful.  I did manage to get a good photo though – click the photo at right for a close-up.
  • I’m cautious about every attic space that I enter.  I’ve had to scramble out of a couple attics before, and it’s not easy.
  • I’m cautious every time I go underneath a deck.  This is a notorious location for wasp nests.
  • I don’t touch old logs.  One of my dad’s clients kicked an old log during the inspection and got stung about thirty times and had to leave the inspection to get treatment.
  • Waspinvent I carefully inspect roof caps, roof vents, and combustion air intakes for wasp nests from a distance before sticking my face in there.  I find wasp nests in these locations all the time.
  • I stay a healthy distance away from gable-end vents.  It’s rare to not find wasp nests here.

The good news about wasps is that they’re not generally angry – they just like to be left alone.


Reuben Saltzman, Structure Tech Home Inspections – Email – Minneapolis Home Inspections

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