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Community and Q&A

Keeping Wasps Out of Unvented Soffits

Jacques NJ | Posted in General Questions on

My house is a 30-year old timber frame house with open ceiling (no attic) – SIP panels for walls and roof. The soffits -most likely vinyl – are not vented. In the past couple of years the wasps have been getting into the soffits to build their nests leading to some intrusion of the wasps in the closest rooms. Most of the time I noticed the external activity before finding any wasp inside the house. The nests are most likely built in the space above the soffit as there are no visible nests in the house. Calling the pest company every year to spray their entrance into the soffit – once I find heavy activity from the outside –  does not seem to be a good long term option – by the time you called them, the nest is already well established. Once the nest dies, a bad smell spreads to the closest room. Early spring I caulked the entrance path to 2 nests that were active last fall. I am not quite sure that will really help in the future or if it could be really done around the entire roof overhang. The result of this early caulking resulted in an increase smell coming into the house…which later subsided but seems to have returned recently. Are there any good solutions to limit the entrance of wasps into a soffit?

Thanks,

Jacques

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Replies

  1. GBA Editor
    Kiley Jacques | | #1

    I’m giving your question a bump. It seems like a tricky situation! I asked my colleague Brian Pontolilo your question, and this is what he suggested:
    Run an insect screen along the bottom of the blocking used to fasten the soffit material. Blocking along the house and back of the facia also works. Basically you need to close off the gap where insects get in. As for a screen product, I found this recommendation from another GBA reader: http://www.mcnichols.com. He says, “Over the years, I've come to rely on stainless steel, heavy-gauge, insect screen. Same hole size as regular insect screen, but thicker gauge and a ‘forever’ product.”

  2. Jacques NJ | | #2

    Kiley- Thanks for the reply. In my case the structure of the overhang is a SIP panel, and I am assuming the soffit is primarily attached to the facia and the external wall panel (I have attached pictures taken during the construction by the former owner). In any case , if I understand correctly, the solution would be to install the stainless steel mesh screen above the soffit so it covers the entrance. I also considered that removing the soffit will provide access to the area where the wasp build their nests and it will also provide the opportunity to seal any opening between the wall and the roof. This is not a job that I will be able to do myself but I am trying to figure out all the details before I find a contractor.

    In terms of the soffits in this case, is there any argument to be made for replacing them with vented soffit?

    Thanks,

    Jacques

  3. Jamie B | | #3

    I had a wasp issue in a soffit couple years ago. Basically, if there is a gap, they will get in and nest.

    Also note that they don't hibernate over the winter, they die off and the next sort of stays there withers away.

    So I think your best solution is to climb up there this spring, take your soffit completely out, get rid of the nests/clean out the area. Caulk the wall-roof joint. Staple up mesh if you I can as a backup measure and re-install the soffit. While you're up there you can colour-match caulk any seams in the soffiting as well.

    1. Jacques NJ | | #4

      Jamie - Thanks. That sounds like a good plan.

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