Reuben's Home Inspection Blog


What Turns Me Into A Sissy


I've seen grown men act like sissies around little critters like mice, spiders, and leeches.  Not me though.


I act like a sissy around wasps.  I get stung every year.

This year it happened while I was inspecting a fireplace; I reached up inside the flue to close the damper, and a wasp stung me on the arm.  That's right, a wasp made it's way down the flue because it knew I was inside the house and it had it out for me.  Now I'm a little paranoid every time I reach up inside a fireplace.

Last year I got stung while riding an ATV.  I was flying along a trail and the wasp went right inside my helmet and stung me on the forehead.  That wasn't just painful, it was also dangerous.

The year before that, I got stung while inspecting an electric panel; I didn't notice the wasp nest below the panel, and I just started opening it.  Shame on me.  I got the heck out of there in a hurry, and I was lucky to get away with only one sting.

The year before that, I got stung while walking up a driveway to the house I was about to inspect.  I got stung on the side of my neck, right under the collar of my shirt.  I dropped my ladder and tool bag, ripped my shirt off, and started furiously batting at my neck and back.  Thankfully, my clients hadn't yet arrived to see the goofy display I put on, but it must have been a pretty funny sight for anyone looking out their window.

On and on the list goes.  To lower my risk of getting stung, I try to follow these rules when inspecting houses:

Wasp Nest Under Gutter

  •  I bang on gutters with my ladder before climbing on the roof.  Wasps are very sensitive to vibration; if there's a wasp nest nearby, they'll quickly swarm the area.  I forgot to do this a couple weeks ago, but luckily it was still early in the morning and the wasps were all still sleeping, so it was uneventful.  I did manage to get a good photo though - click the photo at right for a close-up. 
  • I'm cautious about every attic space that I enter.  I've had to scramble out of a couple attics before, and it's not easy.
  • I'm cautious every time I go underneath a deck.  This is a notorious location for wasp nests.
  • I don't touch old logs.  One of my dad's clients kicked an old log during the inspection and got stung about thirty times and had to leave the inspection to get treatment.  
  • Waspinvent  I carefully inspect roof caps, roof vents, and combustion air intakes for wasp nests from a distance before sticking my face in there.  I find wasp nests in these locations all the time. 
  • I stay a healthy distance away from gable-end vents.  It's rare to notfind wasp nests here.




The good news about wasps is that they're not generally angry - they just like to be left alone.  


Reuben Saltzman, Structure Tech Home Inspections


Comment balloon 16 commentsReuben Saltzman • September 21 2010 06:18AM


Well if that makes you a sissy Reuben, I'm sure there are a lot more of us out there............who wants to get stung by a wasp!  Great list for lowering the risk of getting stung.

Posted by Roger D. Mucci, Lets shake things up at your home today! (Shaken...with a Twist 216.633.2092) about 8 years ago

Ouch Reuben, under the helmet on the forehead? I've seen a lot of nests but thankfully I've never been stung. 

Posted by Laura Giannotta, Your Realtor Down the Shore! (Keller Williams Realty - Atlantic Shore ) about 8 years ago

Remind me not to be around you when you're doing an inspection

Posted by James Dray, Exceptional Agents, Outstanding Results (Fathom Realty AR LLC) about 8 years ago

Roger - oh man, not me... but I know it will happen again next year.

Laura - yes, that one was particularly nasty.

James - LOL, just stay a safe distance and you'll be fine :)

Posted by Reuben Saltzman, Delivering the Unbiased Truth. (Structure Tech Home Inspections) about 8 years ago

It would appear that you have a body-chemistry that attracts wasps.  I wonder if there is an antidote??

Posted by Lenn Harley, Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland (Lenn Harley,, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate) about 8 years ago

Lenn - if you can come up with an antidote, I'll pay you a handsome sum of money.

Posted by Reuben Saltzman, Delivering the Unbiased Truth. (Structure Tech Home Inspections) about 8 years ago

Hello Reuben:

You are no sissy! Flying, stinging insect challenged perhaps, but no sissy.

Posted by Brian Rugg, Sun City TX Real Estate - Georgetown, TX Real Est (Rugg Realty LLC Sun City Texas 512-966-3200) about 8 years ago

I have been fairly lucky, I was stung for the first time on an inspection last year. I walked right into a nest in the ground while inspecting the A/C compressors. I was only stung once. At home is another story, I got stung three times this summer after stirring up a nest in my back yard.

Posted by James Quarello, Connecticut Home Inspector (JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC) about 8 years ago

Reuben, I have never been stung while inspecting----plenty of times as a builder and farmer though :)  So you have 9 months of winter an three months of wasps?

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) about 8 years ago

Brian - ok, I'll go with stinging insect challenged.  Sounds better.

James - I've never been stung more that once.  You've got that one on me.  Btw, your blog about wasps nests from a couple weeks ago inspired this one.

Charles - you've never been stung inspecting?  You're lucky.  Then again, I've never knocked myself out in an attic inspecting, so maybe I'm lucky.  Yes, 9 months of winter and three months of wasps, or as others like to say, nine months of winter and three months of road construction.

Posted by Reuben Saltzman, Delivering the Unbiased Truth. (Structure Tech Home Inspections) about 8 years ago

I hate wasps and yellow jackets and anything that stings.  Glad I dont have a job like yours.  Stay safe!

Posted by Ricki Eichler McCallum, Broker,GRI,ABR, - Your Coastal Bend Home Source (CastNet Realty) about 8 years ago

I don't mind wasps or anything else that stings as long as they will let me take a picture of them first. LOL

Call Russel Ray for all your home inspection needs

Posted by Not a real person about 8 years ago

Ricki - me too.  If we had fire ants or scorpions here in Minnesota, I don't think I would care much for them either.

Russel - great shot.  Is it just me, or do they always look angry?

Posted by Reuben Saltzman, Delivering the Unbiased Truth. (Structure Tech Home Inspections) about 8 years ago

The close up of the wasp nest would scare anyone who has a brain.  For some reason wasp are attracted to the area around my back door.  Be careful.

Posted by Diane Williams about 8 years ago


Actually I have a very, very healthy respect for wasps and their being very territorial.  They will attack if you get within about 12' of their territory bubble.  I hate'm!

And yes, they always look angry, to me anyway.  I run like the Monty Python troop from the attack rabbit.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 8 years ago

I was working on an AC unit at one of my properties the other day, and it several wasps came out of no where.  I turned into a dancing fool trying to keep them off of me.  I can only imagine what the neighbor thought as she watched - haha.


Posted by Aaron Silverman, Improving Real Estate Experience through Education (, Bluewater Property Management, LLC and Lowcountry Turnkey Properties, LLC) almost 8 years ago