A blog post

Stung by Conservatory Company – the danger of wood wasps!

Posted on the 24 August, 2009 at 3:41 pm Written by in Company News

Wood wasp feeding on timber

Wood wasp feeding on timber

Although not strictly speaking a Heritage Survey, whilst undertaking a recent survey of a Edwardian house in Sussex, we were asked by our clients neighbour if we could take a quick look at and advise on a particular problem affecting her timber framed Conservatory.

 The conservatory which was situated on the side of a 1950’s bungalow was constructed in soft wood, although was not of particularly good quality or was it well constructed. Wet rot decay (white rot) was occurring to the lower frames and cills as a consequence of condensation running from the internal faces of the glass during the winter and soaking the timber. A 10 year guarantee was originally provided by the installer (a franchise conservatory company), although they had long since ceased trading.

Nothing unusual about that you might think, but the owner also pointed out that insect’s, described as ‘wasp like’ were also burrowing into the timbers.

The wasp in question, although not your normal Wood Wasp, was chewing quite happily through the apparently sound paintwork and

timber and within a matter of minutes (and long enough to take his photo) was up to his head and shoulders and well into the softwood frame.

Damage caused by wood wasp

Damage caused by wood wasp

After several attempts and about 15 minutes chasing the insect around the garden, it was finally caught and identified, as what was believed to be a Wasp of the genus specie ‘Ectemnius’. This is a Wasp that lay their eggs on paralysed flies, which they then store in burrows made in rotting timber, hence its interest in this rotting softwood conservatory.

We advised the owner of the conservatory that in our opinion the frames of the conservatory were considered to be beyond economical repair and removing the decayed timbers would remove the risk of further infestation by the wasps. Recommendations were made to have the frames fully replaced with a more durable timber, with suitable treatment and decoration.

  To learn more about wood wasps click here Below is a short video showing a wood wasp in action!

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