Dying wasps in apartment

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Old 10-28-13, 08:35 AM
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Dying wasps in apartment

Hi All!

I was directed to this website by a friend of mine, who advised that he's found just about any answer he's ever needed here - relating to things around the house.

I've lived in my apartment for 3 years now. Up until about a month ago, I had only ever found one off course wasp in the place, and it was during the hot summer, and was probably just lost, and almost dead.

But around mid September of this year, I've noticed a drastic increase.

I am aware of how they operate, especially during the Fall and Winter. Thus far, these Wasps have demonstrated the expected behavior - lethargic, and non aggressive. But I'm worried about when one ends up falling into my bed in the middle of the night, or ending up on the floor and my accidentally stepping on it, as I am mildly allergic to the proteins in Wasp venom.

They seem to gravitate toward a light in the living room, that is part of the ceiling. I plan on keeping that off, moving forward, and using a spare floor lamp. Is it possible that the heat and light from that ceiling lamp was attracting them through the ceiling? It's cold here in Western PA, the past few weeks it's been around 25-35F overnight, so I'm surprised that I've found as many as I have that are still alive. (About a dozen in the past month).

Is there anything else I can do to deal with this problem? I've told the Landlords, who understandably can't do much, and they've tried to watch them coming in on warmer days, but can't identify an opening.

Is there some kind of environmentally safe spray that I can buy, and just douse all of the small cracks and openings? (It's a drop ceiling, like in an office)

Thanks for any advice!

- Brandon
 
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Old 10-28-13, 10:15 AM
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Welcome to the forums!

I don't have any real answers for you but our bug pro should be along later
When I bought my place, it sat vacant for the better part of a year. It was december when we moved in and started heating the place. I think all of us got stung in january. I assume heating the house is what brought them out of the 'woodwork' I'd suspect there is a nest or two in your walls somewhere. Locating the nest will help a lot in exterminating the wasps.
 
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Old 10-28-13, 10:55 AM
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Hi Mark!

Thanks for the reply and kind welcome! Those are good thoughts. I should probably add some more details if it will help.

It's a second floor apartment (which I've heard might be more susceptible to bugs). As somebody who very much enjoys the cold, I typically don't use my heat. I used it once last year, in the dead of Winter in February. Not yet this year. Though I'm wondering if the residual heat from the below tenants might be flushing out the critters.

If there is a nest, then this year is the first year it's been there. And I've heard that wasps typically never make a nest in the same place twice. So I suppose my sole consolation here is that they hopefully won't be back next fall/winter.

I plan to pick up some sticky traps as well, when I'm at the hardware store today. The only thing I currently have to deal with them is a rather abrasive form of Raid-like spray, that is recommended only to use outside. I should probably arm myself with some more indoor-friendly weapons.

Thanks!
 
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Old 10-28-13, 02:53 PM
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Until Terry shows up, I'll interject, this is the time of season that they die. Their job is done and they simply die, whether they are inside or out. Yes, you may have a new nest somewhere in your attic or in another accessible area. Since they are gone, you may have a better chance of locating it without danger.
 
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Old 10-28-13, 03:17 PM
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Hi Brandon,
Yes the heat from lamps will attract them but it means they are close by anyway; they may even be coming through the ceiling where the lamp attached to the ceiling. The other day I duct-taped around a lamp fixture base until my treatment in the attic works (fingers crossed on that one).

Is there an attic that you can walk up into and inspect for activity? If there is an attic lamp, generally a bare light bulb, would the landlord mind if you left it on for a couple of days as an attractor? I did that in the previously mentioned job as well.

Wasps do not live from season to season so winter and time will bail you out on this and probably soon as wasp nests donít get very large. Are you confident that these are a wasp and not yellow jackets or honey bees?
 
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Old 10-29-13, 06:11 AM
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Hi Bugman -

Thanks for the info! To answer some of your questions:

I definitely noticed that when I turn the light on, there is a new wasp there within anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour or so. Yesterday morning I turned it on when I woke up, stepped outside, came back, and there was already one there.

Yesterday after coming home from work, I used an old lamp for my living room instead, and left the ceiling light off. No wasps all night. Even with lights on in other rooms. (None of which touch the ceiling). There's not actually an attic in this building. From my ceiling, it's about another 12 inches to the top of the building.

The landlord has advised that she is actually sending an exterminator to look around on Thursday, so hopefully he'll be able to find something.

I'm fairly certain they are wasps. (Though I'm no expert) They are black, with yellow markings on the abdomen which appear to match a paper wasp. They're definitely not bees as far as I can tell - very slender, and on the rare occasion they do fly, their legs hang down under them.

Thanks again for the reply! Any idea what the exterminator might choose to do?
 
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Old 11-01-13, 04:14 PM
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So yeah.. Exterminator needed to cancel on Thursday. And it was a bad night. First off, I showed the dead ones to the Landlord, and she confirmed them as Yellow Jackets, which scares me, considering how aggressive they can be.

I had to kill two more upon getting home from work, and turning some lights on. Later last night (maybe after a few beers) I got careless and turned on the kitchen light, which is attached to the ceiling. Before I could even throw dinner in the microwave, one of them buzzed me right in the face, and then fell into the sink, and couldn't fly out.

It's kind of ridiculous how your life changes when something so small invades your space. With my combination of being terrified of buzzing insects, and slightly allergic to their stings, it's been a nerve wracking week.

The Exterminator comes tomorrow... I hope he has some kind of miracle up his sleeve. I largely blame this weather.. It's been almost in the 70s in Western PA for the past week. Saturday and Sunday it's supposed to drop down into the 20s overnight, but I don't think that will freeze them, if they're already in my ceiling/walls.

Again, thanks all for the tips. I've learned an incredible amount about our flying friends over the past month or so, since they've decided to become my new room mates. As somebody who used to keep Tarantulas, I don't scare easily with bugs.. and I realize that Wasps, and even Yellow Jackets can be beneficial.. but I still want them out of my apartment :P

I'm also attaching a picture of some of the deceased, in case anybody wants to add some input on whether it's really a yellowjacket or not.
 
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Old 11-01-13, 04:42 PM
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Yep. Yellow jacket. They are basically ground dwellers, and have two holes. One for entering and exiting and one for emergency. You flush them from one hole, they'll getcha from the other one. My dog didn't know that (dummy) when he started biting a group of them that attacked him in the field. Face swole up like a St Bernard.
 
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Old 11-02-13, 06:08 PM
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Exterminator and Landlord were here today. Couldn't figure out where they were coming from. No nests in the ceiling.

He explained that they'll probably die off in the next 2 days, as it's supposed to get down into the 30s and even 20s the next two nights.

I've only found 2 in the past 48 hours or so... hoping this ridiculous experience is almost over.
 
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Old 11-03-13, 06:23 AM
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Sounds like a plan. Thanks for keeping us posted.

Just had a thought as I remembered that at our own house we had a similar incident. I found that they were coming in through the bathroom exhaust fan vent as it vents to a sidewall on our house through the traditional vinyl flapper vent. In that vent cover on the exterior was a paper wasp nest. As often happens, the flapper wasnít closing all the way and allowing entry. I removed the lamp cover from the bathroom ceiling, turned on the fan and slowly and intermittently sprayed a flying insect spray into the running fan so as to take it to the nest. I held a towel to catch dripping. It worked and eventually I realized I could access this same exterior vent from inside our attic for more positive removal and cleaning.

Try to located any exterior vents from your apartment to see if you can see a nest or activity. It could be inside the vent hose too. Use binoculars to help see.

Just an idea from my memory.
 
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Old 11-05-13, 06:21 AM
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No problem, thanks for the continued advice.

I had not seen any activity since Saturday evening. The contractor checked in the ceiling for nests, and also caulked any cracks or small openings in the windows.

I was thinking it was finally dealt with, until this morning. Right by the lamp in my living room, there was a VERY active and quite aware Yellowjacket buzzing about. I had no shirt on, since I had just showered, and walked right by it, then saw it on the way back. It was not like the others, near death or "drunk" but it eventually landed on the floor where I was able to smack it with a magazine after getting dressed. I imagine it was only luck that caused it to not come after me when I walked by and start stinging.

It's unfortunately become a worst case scenario at this point. When they were dying, it was one thing.. annoying, but manageable. My bedroom window gives off plenty of light for a good hour or more before I wake up for work. There was only a good 10 feet separating the Yellowjacket by the lamp, from being in my bedroom flying around the window, and I would have been an easy target, moving around and warm while sleeping right there.

I'm not sure what else to do. I understand it's not a swarm of insects, but it only takes one bad encounter. I may need to demand my landlords do something about it, or I'll have to find a way to legally terminate the lease and find somewhere else to live.
 
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Old 11-05-13, 07:49 AM
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Did you try taping around the ceiling lamps where the base meets the ceiling? Also, what about exhaust vents, kitchen and bath and laundry that penetrate thru the walls/ceiling as I noted in earlier post? These may have been overlooked during inspection or they may have looked fine to them if they didnít get up close to the lamp/ceiling fit.

Somewhere inside your apt is an entry point that can be found.

Iíd hate to see you go through the hassle of moving if you like where you live and especially since time will solve this problem.

Keep us posted and Iíll keep thinking on this.
 
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Old 11-05-13, 09:52 AM
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Hi Bugman -

I have two lamps that touch the ceiling. One in the living room, one in the kitchen. I've actually not used either for about 2 weeks, because every time I do, something appears near it. I can try taping around the bases, that sounds like it might be a good idea.

The Bathroom has a fan, and a vent.. but I've never found a single wasp in the bathroom. Granted it could just fly out when it comes through, since the bathroom is dark almost 24/7.. I really hope that's not where they're getting in though, lol.. I would not want to encounter one in there.

There just seem to be so many access points... gaps in the drop ceiling, a dozen air conditioning/heating vents, the lights, holes where the Coaxial cable comes in... there's just so much to tape up.

I got a quote for another Exterminator today, that said he would come out, for $179, and find the crack (they seem to want to guarantee that they can fix it, because they get a lot of these same calls) shoot some freezing agent in it or something, and then warrant the work for 2 months. Sound legit? If so, I might take them up on the offer.
 
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Old 11-05-13, 11:34 AM
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I JUST went through this myself at my house.
They will eventually die off.
I used a vacuum to just suck them up. Some about flying insects and a vacuum. They just fly right into it.

I would not worry TOO much, even yellow jackets aren't like crazy killer bee aggressive.
I Think the ones I Had may have been small ones and honestly I could grab them right from the window and they wouldnt even pay attention to me. Just lumbered about.

Can you close off the room you are finding them in. If you still find them in there then thats where they are coming from. Most likely the case thought since they are always there and you said they seem to be dying. Probably have just enough energy to crawl out and then die looking for light.
good luck.

was any exterior work recently done that may have blocked their exit they had outside?
 
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Old 11-05-13, 01:08 PM
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Hi tevil -

Nice to hear somebody else has dealt with this. (Well, not nice that it happens, haha)

I'm certain they will eventually die off.. but if it's a nest in the wall, won't they just keep coming in, one by one as long as my apartment stays warm? We've had a couple nights in the 20s here since the beginning of October.. I'd have to think any from outside wouldn't have survived that. The one this morning seemed pretty pissy when I approached. I think the only reason I got him was that he eventually ran out of steam and fell onto the carpet. I don't own vacuum.. unfortunately. It's a smaller place, so all I need is a dustbuster

I honestly wasn't to afraid until I found the one this morning. It's going to be warmer the next two days, so I'm afraid they're becoming more energetic. The one from this morning was definitely not as lethargic as the ones before.

I can try closing off the rooms I guess. That's not a bad idea. I'm just worried that when I need that room, I'll have to go in like a special ops member in attack mode, haha.

I don't think any work was done.. though the basement of the building did flood in July.. like all the way to the ceiling. So I guess if any were down there, they might have been affected.. but I would have seen them way earlier than October in that case.

Thanks for the reply!
 
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Old 11-06-13, 06:01 AM
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Well, looks like the Landlord and Exterminator took one last look yesterday, and eventually came across a nest - about 9 feet up, on the side of the building. He is coming out today to treat it.

I expect I will see one or two more of our flying friends over the next day or two, but here's hoping this ordeal is over.

Thanks again for the replies and advice! Looking forward to visiting this forum in the future!

 
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Old 11-06-13, 06:03 AM
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Can you put up fly strips near the lights. If your seeing them all near the same light that room is probably where they are located. Look for any gaps and spray into them or have the exterminator dust them.
The tape idea is a good one. Use clear tape so they can see the light and get stuck.
My guess tho is not that they will die for the season but lack of food. If they are coming in then their outer escape was more than likely closed up. They will probably just starve to death (hopefully).
This sounds more than likely an attic issue. I would bomb the attic, just to see the reaction you get and find out if they are hiding up there.
 
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Old 11-06-13, 02:25 PM
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Glad to hear this news and tks for keeping us posted!
 
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Old 11-07-13, 05:34 PM
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Thank you Bugman for the advice!

I had a nasty one near my Office light tonight, but after a few minutes of buzzing around, he fell into the light, and was easily dumped onto the floor and disposed of. It's amazing how they go from zipping around, to not being able to move.. it must take a lot of energy to fly like they do.

The Exterminator keeps telling me that they'll "Die off when it gets cold," but that's little comfort when all it would take is one in my place at the wrong time to cause a very bad day, heh.

 
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Old 08-03-15, 12:29 PM
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Back again!

Hate to Necro a thread, and I never thought I'd be coming back here again.

Unfortunately, it appears I'm being infiltrated once again. This time during the Summer.

It started about 3 weeks ago. I was on my computer, and I heard a slight "ting" behind me and looked back at the window. There was a flailing and dying wasp laying on the window sill. I promptly disposed of it, and thought nothing more. Last Thursday (A week and a half later) I found another one on the carpet, right next to the same window. It was barely alive, but when I sprayed it with my EcoSmart spray, it put up a bit of a fight before finally dying. My main concern was that this one was black, and I was worried it was a hornet.

Again, I was willing to let it go, since they were so close to death.

Friday, I came home from work, and found nothing on the floor. But lo and behold, I looked up at the ceiling, and there was a GIANT black wasp flying around happily right in the corner. It took me a while to get my courage up, but I eventually cornered it at the same window, and sprayed it down. I've enclosed a picture, but not sure if it's big enough to identify.

The landlord was by last week, and advised they knocked down some small wasp nests near my window. Only the big one has been inside since then, and I found nothing inside this past Saturday or Sunday.

Any chance I Should continue to be worried? I am allergic to all stinging insects, and these ones are the worst.. especially if I'm asleep or not paying attention. They have all been found in the same room, and have not left that room.. so I can only assume they were coming in through a crack in that window. The landlord caulked any openings he saw on Saturday, so I'm hoping that fixed the problem.. but who knows. I'm definitely moving out of this place next year!

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Old 08-03-15, 02:12 PM
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Ask your land lord to call in an exterminator that specializes in those kinds of problems if it continues.
 
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Old 08-04-15, 10:14 AM
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I canít make the pic bigger so I canít ID it. Wasps come from the small, upside-down umbrella paper nests that hang on deck rails, soffits, etc.

Yellow Jackets make nests in wall voids, holes in ground, attic/wall insulation, etc. They still use paper but they prefer a void area and make large nests.

If yellow jackets, go outside on a sunny day and slowly scan the soffit, walls, vents, chimney areas, etc. Any place where there is a crack, gap, crevice, void and look for YJís flying around. Wherever they are living they will be entering/exiting, especially so on a sunny day. Binoculars can be a big help. Take your time. I would prioritize by searching the exterior of your immediate living space first, then move on if no sightings.
 
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Old 08-24-15, 11:09 AM
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Thanks Bugman!

Here is a more detailed picture. I've obviously encountered a few more since my last posting. All seemed pretty easy to surprise, and went down with some organic eco Spray. Hopefully this helps.

The landlord advises that the Exterminator was out in late July and was able to find and remove several smaller wasp nests. But these don't look like wasps to me. (But obviously I'm no expert)

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Old 08-24-15, 11:21 AM
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Your pic still isn't showing enough detail, but they do look like wasps to me, along with a stinkbug!
Yellow Jackets do have yellow stipes (as in one of your previous pics) while wasps are all dark.
 
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Old 08-24-15, 11:33 AM
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Even with an enhanced picture it's hard to tell what they are.

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Old 08-24-15, 11:41 AM
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Are you able to take a higher resolution pic? Then it can be resized to upload here.
 
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Old 08-24-15, 02:35 PM
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I think they are wasps. Look at the body shape.
 
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Old 08-25-15, 08:54 AM
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Thanks all!

I've since vacuumed them up and disposed of them. I didn't want them there any longer than they had to be.

I always thought that if it looked like a wasp, but was bigger and all black, it was probably a hornet.

I haven't found one inside in over a week. Here's hoping that this problem is done with.
 
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Old 10-22-15, 08:26 AM
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YayForBeers - I could have written this thread myself, word for word

Hey, YayForBeers - as I read your posts from two years ago, I was amazed as the exact same thing is happening to me right now - and I am in the same area as you - Western PA - Pittsburgh, in particular.

Over the past two months, I've been periodically finding 1 to two lethargic "wasps" or "baby yellow jackets" in my bathroom - until yesterday, when I found 3 in the upstairs bathroom (next to my bedroom) and also one of in the living room downstairs.

I have spent most of my life believing I was allergic to "bees" since I was a child, until about a month ago when one of these buggers stung me in the shower while I was drying off with a towel he was hiding in.

I didn't die, so I guess I've outgrown my allergy.

I was stung again yesterday when I sat up again one that was walking around the back cushion of a chair I sat in.

One thing I have noticed is some of these "wasps" or "bees" have been much smaller than others. They look like miniature yellow jackets.

So, I am not sure if I have two nests or the smaller ones were just dwarfed versions of the larger ones.

They've all been lethargic but still active enough to sting.

Here is a picture of one of the larger ones I found yesterday.

Can anyone tell me with 100% certainty whether this is a paper wasp or a yellow jacket?

I have found several paper wasp nests in their early development stages around the outside of the house over the summer and took them down. So, I am guessing they eventually found a nest elsewhere.

I, like you, am worried about of these buggers landing on my bed while I am sleeping though and stinging me while I sleep.

Considering it's late October here currently (but in the 70s today) do I need to take any action with the existing nest (which I think is located in the common wall joining my townhouse and the townhouse next door - or maybe in the crawlspace above the second floor), assuming I can find it ?

Is this a Paper Wasp or a Yellow Jacket?

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Old 10-22-15, 10:06 AM
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Look like yellow jackets to me.

Winter will solve your problem if you can wait it out otherwise go outside on a warm sunny day, binoculars can help, and look up at soffit, gable, chimney and all junctions for activity. That will be there entry/exit point and the nest will be near by.

From the inside you may be able to hear them rustling and chewing and such.
 
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Old 10-25-15, 05:18 PM
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Hello there!

I've been having the same problem in my apartment lately and as I was trying to understand what was happening I found this thread - it's kind of relieving to know I'm not the only one!

So I used to have a nest right on my balcony door since May or June and I let it there thinking I didn't need to use the balcony anyway, and I was too scared to take it down. That is, until late summer when I found one inside. I thought it was just a coincidence at first, but by mid-August it became a regular thing, and since then I've had on average one every 2-3 days. Early on I called the landlord to take down the nest and he did, but it didn't stop. A few weeks later I called him again because obviously it hadn't solved the problem, so he came to patch up a few holes outside, but neither of us has any idea how they're getting in.

I used to almost always find them in the window of my door that used to have a nest outside, except twice I found them in the other window next to it. When I wake up in the morning they're nowhere to be seen, I usually find them after work or, on weekends, I always find them in my window between 10am and 1pm. I noticed it happened more often in the weekend after eating late breakfast next to my door watching tv, don't know if that could attract them, although they've never come to bother me directly.

My wasps have followed a very regular pattern like that until today, I was home all day and ended up finding one on my cupboard after dark, which makes me wonder if their entry point might actually be far away from my balcony door.

They're super slow and easy to kill, but it's still very annoying. Does anyone have advice on how to find the nest? And when they are supposed to die? It's already quite cold where I live, temperatures are close to 0 celsius at night and we even had some snow last weekend. Shouldn't they already be dead??

My landlord told me he doesn't know what to do, just let them die this winter and if it happens again in spring he'll call an exterminator. I don't mind letting them die, but seeing how it's already cold I'm afraid the heat from inside will keep them alive, and in spring next year if they come back this time they won't be easy prey
 
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Old 11-03-15, 07:17 PM
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Probably not the answer, tho ya never know, i just recently had this problem. They were hanging out inside and dying at the windows behind which, outside lays their nest. Simple enough, they were entering through the window because it turns out I simply hadnt closed the locking lever on them which apparently left a fat enough space or them to slip inside from. So if it's possible your windows aren't completely closed, give it a check...
 
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Old 05-31-16, 10:44 AM
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Cool Yep..

Kind of ridiculous that I still look this thread up from time to time. You might ask "Why haven't you moved out of this apartment yet?"

Well, the answer is that it's a $430 2 bedroom apartment in a very nice quiet area, and the only problem in almost 7 years has been the bugs. But those are getting annoying enough that I'm considering moving.

So far this year, two wasps. One on the window, and one in the living room. After the living room one, I didn't see anything for a full month until this past Friday. I came home from work on a particularly hot day, and found this guy almost dead laying on the carpet. Too weak to move, so I put him out of his misery. I really hope it was just a random stray, or one that was hibernating.. because it was pretty big, and looks like a hornet. :-/

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