dead wasp nest and the lingering stench of death!

Had a problem with a wasp nest about a month ago, they were getting into my wall cavity where the sky cable went through the wall.
Read a lot of posts on this forum about removal etc so crept out at midnight and squirted some wasp nest killing powder stuff into the hole and ran.
Next day...nothing. I was expecting some activity for a few days but there was none which kinda surprised me somewhat as I thought it took a few days to kick in.
Anyway, about a week later we started to get the faint smell of maggots/decay which has now got so bad that the living room is pretty much a no-go area even with air freshners etc.
Would the nest have been in the cavity itself or might I be able to get at it by pulling up a few floorboards in the living room and would a dead wasp nest smell so bad?
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This is one of the problems with not leaving the nest until it's empty of insects naturally, they mostly die in the field rather than in the nest.
If you kill the insects, larvae and pupae in the nest there's a residue of flesh which will attract flies and even mice. The poison might kill them too but not necessarily. It will take time for Nature to clear up the mess - but it will be cleared eventually.
The nest might have been in the wall cavity although they prefer a larger space to accommodate the layers of insulation and build sensibly sized slabs of comb for breeding so I suspect it might be in the space between lower ceiling and upper floorboards.
Mary

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Thanks Mary, unfortunately leaving the nest wasn't really an option as a large number of the wasps seemed to be finding their way into the house and I was a bit worried that my grandkids might get stung. I fear I may have to pull a few boards up and dust off my pit helmet...
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People always cite fear for children or dogs as justification :-)
Killing one colony makes no perceptible difference to the number of flying stinging and biting insects in the air all around us. The reality is that very few people are stung and then rarely more than once - except people like me who are dealing with them and interfering with their brood. Then they become defensive.
I do understand though, if another nest is built in the future try to discover where the insects are getting into the room - they don't want to be there so you'll be doing them as well as yourselves a favour by stopping the hole. If they're coming in through an open window and you're nervous simply fit some fine netting over the opening. Bridal netting is fine, mosquito netting is rather fine and doesn't allow as much movement of air. Or there's always the wasp trap, they work as well indoors as outdoors. Put some jam and water in a bottle with a narrow neck, that usually works, they go in but can't get out easily. A properly designed wasp trap is even better, you don't need to expose your grandchildren to beer fumes, dilute jam works just as well.
I hope this helps,
Mary

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Over the last couple of weeks my 20 month old (inquisitive) little boy has been stung twice; he has a nasty habit of finding the most rotten looking fallen apple hiding in the long grass and then picking it up and running around with it. I'm not certain he's put two and two together that the wasp / bee sting is related to the manky apple in his hand.
Of course, we do our best to make sure all rotten fruit is moved away to prevent just this problem, but he always finds one. Mind you, although it is uncomfortable for a couple of minutes, there are many things worse than being stung, so maybe he'll grow up toughened as a result! He's already been stung more times in his 20 months than I have in my 35 years!
For the record, the thing that makes me recoil in fear of pain more than anything else is treading unwittingly on an upturned three pin plug! Anyone else have strange pain phobias!?
Matt
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There`s nothing strange about that phobia at all - it bloody hurts! I regularly have to tell SWMBO not to leave plugs with their pins pointing up :-)
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I think, as they (probably) build a nest under the living room that some of the more stupid ones have been getting into the living room under the skirting board somewhere. Probably the same place that all the spiders come from. They probably have a little insect signpost under the floor saying "this way to freak out the bald apes"...
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You're probably right about their access but a) wasps are anything but stupid except that b) they can't read English.
Seal the gap under the skirting! It will help with draughtproofing too.
Mary

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Unfortunately I just put down some of that laminated wooden floor stuff and you have to leave a gap to allow the spiders and wasp in...er, I mean to allow the floor to float around the room.
p.s. the ones that couldn't find their way out after coming in might be slightly stupid imho...
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Not at all, they might well be newly hatched and, not knowing the 'official' exit they go towards chinks of light.
You could put some thin lengths of foam between the floor and the skirting, we have done.
Mary

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It won't be a bee sting. Bees wouldn't need to go to ripe apples, they have tongues which can access nectar, which is sweeter than any fruit. Wasps have hardly any tongues. It's a long and beautiful story but it's only at this time of year, as a rule, that wasps seek sugar and since very few flowers can satisfy their needs they exploit anything else they can find - fruit, sweet and alcoholic drinks, jam and, worst of all when they do it en masse, bees' nests.
The wasp on the apple will only sting if it's touched, that's a threat to its integrity and it's defending itself - as any of us would if we were threatened and had a weapon. I remember one autumn when our children were eating tea on the front doorstep and wasps were walking round their mouths eating the jam. No-one was stung.
Wasps really are fascinating creatures, I know they're vilified but they play an important part in the ecology of our gardens.

Being stung as a child isn't nice but they get over it. Your last sentence is telling :-) but you're absolutely right in that there are many worse things than being stung - you have a sensible attitude :-)

Since I'm in permanent pain of different intensities I can't say that I have a phobia about it - but any acute pain, while short-lived, always seems worse than chronic pain. Thus a sting, a little burn, a graze or cut, a sharp bruise, all hurt intensely.
But only for a very short time :-)
When in labour I always told myself that it would come to an end, I was always right :-)
Not that it helped at the time ...
Mary p.s. I didn't reply to your post immediately because it was worth thinking about.
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Mary Fisher wrote:

Not if you swell up like a ruddy balloon if even one of the little beggars jab its sting into you!
That what happens to me and I suffer for days - I kill the beggars as soon as they get near me.
Brian G
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Well, I took up the laminate flooring last night and managed to prise up 1 floorboard. Had a peek but couldn't see all the way to the other end of the room so am going to have to pull a few more up and do some crawling. Did manage to find a golf-ball sized nest though. Amazing little things. Kids are gonna take it to show and tell today. Are the nests always gonna be dangling spheres?
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The classic wasp nest is but in a confined space it will more than likely be attached to its surroundings.
The small one you found was started not less than a few months ago, it might well be years old. They are delightful and I'm pleased that the children are interested.
If I'm asked to dispose of a nest, if can't persuade the reluctant host to let the occupants live out their normal span AND there is a genuinely good reason for doing it (there rarely is) I cut round the edges, put it in a bin liner and take it home to put in the chest freezer., That means that no toxic substance is left in the house and the wasps die with no distress. After a few hours the nest can be removed from the bag.
Then I take a bread knife and cut through the nest, very carefully, from top to bottom. This will show the marvellous structure of the whole and is a very satisfying way to explain to children the life of social wasps - as well as maths, architecture, society, physics, building ... anything you can think of. They are always interested, even the silly ones who have contracted unreasonable fear from adults. They ask lots of questions, far more searching in some ways than those adults ask, I have to know the subject thoroughly but even I'm sometimes stumped! Looking at a dead wasp under a microscope or even a simple magnifying glass is fascinating, everyone is always surprised at how hairy they are - even their eyes are hairy.
That was my greatest surprise too, the first time I looked at an enlarged view.
Sorry, I'm rambling again!
Mary

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"The classic wasp nest is but in a confined space it will more than likely be attached to its surroundings."
Against the red brickwork near where they were entering the house there is a fairly large area the same colour as the little nest I found. I need to crawl to get to it but could that be the nest? From the outside it just looks like a mess which is why I aint sure if it is or not.
"They ask lots of questions, far more searching in some ways than those adults ask"
"What's it made of daddy?" "I think the wasps chew up bits of wood and sti..." "And stones?" "No, I don't think they chew up sto..." "Well why is it grey then?" "er......" <sound of door slamming shut and engine revving>
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It sounds as though it could well be. What looks like a mess to you is their way of making the connections strong enough to hold a surprising amount of weight in a very fragile structure.

Suggest that they chew up tiny bits of wood and see what colour it turns out when it's dry. It will probably be grey but not the beautiful silver grey the wasps can make. And your children will never be able to get the 'paper' as thin as the wasps can.
And observe the outside layer very carefully, if it was built by one type of wasp each small piece of 'paper' will be beautifully striped according to the source of the timber. I've seen green stripes, presumably made from painted wood.
Mary

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Fisher contained the following:

Yes I had a nest once. I let it be.
--
Geoff Berrow (put thecat out to email)
It's only Usenet, no one dies.
  Click to see the full signature.
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from Mary

Good man!
Mary

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Geoff Berrow wrote:

I think people imagine the nest getting bigger year on year but IME they never come back the following year.
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wrote:

I was once told that you should destroy wasps nests in winter, as they can get re-used in summer ... no idea if it's true. But it meant I cleaned out this massive 2ft structure that had been built behind the fascia panels on our house when I replaced the guttering ... it was quite impressive
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