Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Let Me Tell You 'Bout the Birds and the Bees and the Wasps and the Ants......

Maybe it's because this house is right next to a Nature Preserve, but we've had more critters than usual on this project!  And that always adds a bit of excitement to the task at hand. πŸ˜„
It started early this spring when a bird decided to build a nest in the awning over the deck.  It was fun to watch her get to work and then swoop back and forth every day to feed her babies. It also meant we had to delay residing the back of the house until the family flew away!
And then when we did start residing the house, we discovered a wasp nest during demolition of the old siding.  Thankfully no one was allergic to stings, but they got stung pretty badly!

Back of wasp nest
This week we had the spray insulation team at the house, getting closed cell foam in all the nooks and crannies to keep the house warm in the winter.  A key area for energy efficiency is a crawl space.  Can you imagine wriggling through a dark, short space and then suddenly coming face to face with this giant wasp nest???  There might have been screaming!!  πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ This thing is huge!!
Giant Wasp Nest

Thankfully it isn't still active and they pulled it out in one piece.  It really is a marvel of wasp engineering.  It's paper thin with these beautiful stripes of color.  On the backside where it was attached to the wall, you can see the rows of combs.  The guy who found it took it home to his dad as a gift - his father is an exterminator and he knew he'd love to have it as a conversation piece.

The other key area for insulation is the sills at the top of the basement walls.  (When we added spray foam insulation to that area in our own house, we saw a 10% reduction in our heating bills.  So it's something I like to do on all of our projects.)  I got a panicked phone call from the installer that hundreds of ants were pouring out of the wall as he got started.  I rushed over and found he was being a bit dramatic - but yes there were carpenter ants in one bay of the sill.  Two weeks before, I had turned on the backyard faucet, only to discover it had burst during the winter and that section of wall got wet for a few minutes.  Carpenter ants love wet wood and they had quickly moved in.  Thankfully we discovered them right away and have eradicated them before they could do any damage.  Whew!!  But again, it was a bit more excitement than we bargained for!
There weren't hundreds of ants..... but there were a few that we quickly eradicated

And who knows what we will find next?  Murder hornets?  Ha ha - it feels like a bit of an adventure every day! Pin It

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