That Stings: What to Do About Wasps in AC Vents

How to Handle Wasps in Air Ducts Safely 

Wasps in air condition ducts or any HVAC component can lead to problems beyond a painful sting. If you’ve spotted wasps in an outside AC unit or consistently seen them inside your home, you could have a wasp nest in an air duct. There are steps you can take to reduce the risk of wasps calling your HVAC system “home,” and potentially causing damage to your HVAC system.

Removing a Wasp Nest in an Air Duct: Play It Safe 

If you’ve seen or believe you have a wasp nest in your HVAC system, call a professional exterminator. While there are wasp sprays available, it can be very difficult to effectively eliminate wasps on your own. Even over several days and multiple applications of pest treatments, you may still face a considerable number of wasps, and each time the risk of being stung, potentially multiple times

Even if you’ve never had an allergic reaction to bee or wasps stings before, there’s a chance you may have developed an allergy over time.

Related Content: What to Do When Your Air Conditioner Drain Line Is Clogged

How to Prevent Wasps in AC Vents in the First Place [H2]

Once professional exterminators have eliminated the wasps and the wasp nest, here’s how to mitigate the risk of further issues. Work with a professional HVAC expert like your local One Hour Heating & Air Conditioning to seal ducts properly. Sealing your ductwork outside can make it nearly impossible for wasps to access your air ducts—and get into your home—through your HVAC system.

You can prevent wasps from entering other areas of your home as well. Be sure to seal cracks, holes, and crevices near doors and windows with caulk or balls of steel wool. Always install window screens if you plan to keep windows open during the day. Wasps are most active during the middle of the day, so consider keeping doors and windows shut by noon on warm days.

Scheduling regular HVAC maintenance appointments is an excellent way to monitor your HVAC system performance and spot possible insect nests before they cause mayhem.

Can Wasps Do Damage to Your House? 

Wasp nests that are built in vents often shed debris that damages your HVAC system. Left in place, a wasp nest can also absorb moisture and cause wood damage over the long term. In most cases, wasps won’t cause structural damage to your home.

Wasps in outside AC units are unlikely to get into your home. Wasp nests constructed in AC units, including window units, can, however, reduce the efficiency of and cause premature failure of air conditioners if the nest is left unaddressed.

Why Do Wasps Live in AC Units and Vents? 

External vents and ductwork are safe, protected environments for wasps to live. Wasps thrive in warm, damp, and dark spaces. The extensive ductwork in your home makes it easy to build and expand a nest quickly. AC vents also protect wasps from their natural predators, most notably birds.

Take the Sting Out of HVAC Maintenance

Proactive HVAC service from your local One Hour Heating & Air Conditioning not only keeps your HVAC system running efficiently but can identify wasp infestations before they become a problem. Stay ahead of pests and the problems they cause with reliable, professional heating and air conditioning services. Call (800) 893-3523 or request an appointment today.

Additional Wasp Information from Mosquito Squad Entomologist, Emma Grace

How to Decipher Wasp Nests from Bee Nests 

Nests Descriptions

  • Wasp nests are constructed with mud and woodpulp, giving their nests a papery look. These nests are often described as “umbrella shaped” as they fan out from top to bottom during construction.
  • Beehives are constructed with honeycomb and propolis (a sticky red substance that helps seals honeycomb cells). The iconic hexagonal structure of beehives distinguishes them from wasp nests, and their shape is described as “sprawling”.

Nest Locations

  • Social wasps (paper wasps, yellow jackets, hornets) tend to build their nests in areas that are elevated and protected from the environment. This can include in dense tree branches, attics, building eaves, and even air vents. Though wasps eat pollen and nectar as food sources, they do not produce honey and therefore do not need to build large nests near flowering plants.
  • Bees are vital pollinators for the environment, and beehives tend to be built is areas close to flowering plants. Beehives will be elevated from the ground, typically suspended in trees, found in or around gardens, meadows, forests, or other such areas. Honey production requires ample space within the hive, making beehives are more difficult to construct in smaller, confined areas as a result. (It is less likely to find a beehive in your HVAC unit than a wasp nest)

Additional Wasp Facts

  • Social wasp colonies do not survive the winter. Only the queen wasp in the colony survives through the winter, and she will begin constructing a new nest when temperatures start to warm up in early spring
    • Check your HVAC units and around your home in Spring/Summer for wasp activity, and call the pros at Mosquito Squad if you notice increased wasp activity around your house.
  • Wasps typically do not reuse or revisit old nest sites, but always use caution when removing a seemingly abandoned hive. When in doubt, call the pros.
  • House interior and interior eaves are ideal places for wasps to build nests, especially in less disturbed areas such as attics or crawlspaces. It is important to control for wasps building nests near points of entry of the home to avoid nest building inside the house and avoid getting stung. Controlling and treating problem areas is crucial to preventing wasps from invading your home.