For several weeks, the Tidd family in West Arvada heard a sound coming from the ceiling above their dinning table. “It was kind of a creepy sound, but we thought that maybe it was water …
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For several weeks, the Tidd family in West Arvada heard a sound coming from the ceiling above their dinning table.
“It was kind of a creepy sound, but we thought that maybe it was water dripping,” explained Megan Tidd.
Upon examining it, they saw what looked like water damage — Just a thin layer of discolored paint in a perfect circle.
They thought it was a pipe dripping. But the sound continued at all hours of the day and night.
Then, the sound got louder.
Their plan was to open the ceiling up and examine what as behind it.
But then, the sound stopped when Megan’s husband, Chris, hit the wall.
That’s when they decided to call pest control.
The initial description of the noise made pest control experts think it was a rodent of sorts.
That theory was thought to be confirmed when Brian Mapes, of Side By Side Pest Control, used his thermal imaging camera and saw a large squirrel-sized red heat signature. So he set traps, but they were not successful.
So Mapes cut into the ceiling where the supposed water damage was. Immediately five yellowjackets flew past his hand and into the house.
No squirrel. No rodent. Instead, a live yellowjacket nest was thriving in the Tidd family’s ceiling. Mapes estimates the nest contained 75 of the stinging insects, with another 60 larvae.
“It was scary thinking about how many were in there if five that slipped out in that short amount of time,” Megan Tidd said. “I thought it was crazy that we had almost opened that up ourselves.”
This was the first live yellowjacket nest Mapes has removed from a home. He sprayed the nest and waited a few days before removing it. No one was stung in the process.
“It’s a scary thing for a home owner,” Mapes said. “Wasp nests are common, hornets and yellowjackets are rare … but I’ve been seeing them more.”
Like any insect, Mapes said the yellowjackets are looking for a safe harbor and a place to build a colony.
According to the Colorado State University Extension, yellowjackets typically nest underground using existing hollows. Occasionally nests can be found in dark, enclosed areas of a building, such as crawl spaces or wall voids.
“We’re all such busy people,” Mapes said. “This could have easily been a tragedy. If (the yellowjackets) cut through the paint and got into the home, it could be a terrible situation.”
Mapes said the biggest thing that can come out of this experience is raising awareness for homeowners of what a stinging insect nest in a wall or ceiling can look like and to remind homeowners that if something is out of the ordinary and the problem persists, they should call a professional.
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