Feeling Waspish

angry wasp

Wasps have generally been a nuisance this week haven’t they? It’s that time of year when their thoughts seem to turn to annoying as many people as they can by persistently dive bombing, buzzing around faces and hair and trying to participate in any al fresco meal you may attempt to enjoy.

A few weeks ago the man fitting some replacement windows for us alerted us to a wasps nest at the front of our house. The wasps were entering just under the guttering through a crack in the fascia boarding. Things worked well on that occasion – we contacted our insurance company and they organised a wasp exterminator who appeared the following morning, climbed his ladder and quickly dealt with the pests.

I’ll just go back a step at this point. When my husband (better known as Grumbling Rose) had told me about the problem, I said to him that I thought there could be another nest on the other side of the house. He dismissed my concern outright – “they’ll be making their way to the existing nest” – “anyway I’m surprised you can see them at all with your eye sight” he scoffed. I wasn’t convinced but had more immediate issues to worry about and so left it at that.

At the weekend I was tidying up a honeysuckle at the side of the house when I caught sight of hundreds of tiny beasties buzzing about just above the eaves. I went round to the front of the house – our drive slopes steeply upwards to the pavement and from there I could see, with the aid of my 10 year old  varifocal gardening sunglasses, that the wasps were entering via the gaps between the roof tiles. So once again I phoned our trusty insurance company. Once we had navigated data protection and GDPR, they asked the usual string of questions – is the house detached, semi-detached, bungalow, how many storeys and where are the wasps. I supplied the required information – it’s a detached 3 storey house – ground floor, first floor and loft room. The wasps are entering via gaps in the roof tiles. A young man from WaspCo appeared on Monday afternoon with a set of 6 ft ladders. He claimed I had advised that the wasps were under the gutter. It took me all the tact and diplomacy I could muster to correct this misinformation and to query whether it made any difference, as the ladders would not have reached the gutter either! I offered a loan of our bathroom fitters’ ladders but of course this was swiftly rejected for health and safety reasons. He said he would have to take a photo of where the wasps were going in so he could prove to WaspCo that he wasn’t shirking and to secure some longer ladders or scaffolding. I felt scaffolding was a little dramatic as the wasps were only about a foot further up than the previous lot. One man and a ladder had been all that was necessary on that occasion. He said someone would phone me the following day but of course they didn’t.

After phoning the insurance company on 3 consecutive days WaspCo finally phoned me to arrange a further visit. Things seemed to have escalated out of all proportion. I was advised that the ladders are to be delivered next Monday afternoon – they need to be stored in a safe place and must be signed for. Then on Tuesday 2 men will come – one to climb the ladder to kill the wasps and the other to hold it. The ladders must then be stored in a safe place again until someone else comes to collect them on Tuesday evening . Today I received a call from my insurance company advising that they could not cover the cost of the work because the wasp nest is on the roof and therefore outside the property. I spent an excruciating 5 minutes trying to get across that it is not on the roof, it is in the roof. I was almost reduced to tears it was so frustrating. The insurance man insisted this was what WaspCo had told them and didn’t seem to be able to comprehend that this may simply be a use of language issue. He said he would check with his supervisor and call back. I was hot on the phone to WaspCo – the lady got my point immediately and within a short time the same insurance man phoned to say panic over and they would pay for the work. I asked for an email to confirm – surprise, surprise, it still hasn’t arrived …

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