Mud wasp nests in all plumbing vents, best way to clean them out?

ParkIt

Well-known member
Title kind of says it all - in August I did a full inspect of the roof and all components of which nothing required any major work. A few nights ago a barely moving wasp was crawling on the living room floor and it baffled me since I'd done window and screen maintenance too so it couldn't have gotten in that way. I wanted to check the roof again anyway as we head into winter and pulled the caps off the vents which were clear and re-caulked just a few months ago, found 'mud wasps' had built nests in every single vent since which were dried out. I carefully teased them out with 16" plumbers brushes and a small shop vac but still concerned bits of mud and wasps had gone further down the vents - which would also explain why my "tank 2 gray water" is reading incorrectly after dumping.

Since I want to drop the tanks and wrap all with heat wrap (I've done it before on my diesel pusher with no problems), would that be a good time to flush out the vents from the top and bottom? Just water flush or maybe some Dawn and water? DYI plumbers brush on a fabbed up 10' line and do it dry from the top first then drop the tanks? Both?

If anyone has ever had this problem let me know how you got it fixed up.
Thanks!

PS: I don't freak out at bugs or flying things but not fond of the thought one could come up the toilet bowl
 

JohnDar

Prolifically Gabby Member
Title kind of says it all - in August I did a full inspect of the roof and all components of which nothing required any major work. A few nights ago a barely moving wasp was crawling on the living room floor and it baffled me since I'd done window and screen maintenance too so it couldn't have gotten in that way. I wanted to check the roof again anyway as we head into winter and pulled the caps off the vents which were clear and re-caulked just a few months ago, found 'mud wasps' had built nests in every single vent since which were dried out. I carefully teased them out with 16" plumbers brushes and a small shop vac but still concerned bits of mud and wasps had gone further down the vents - which would also explain why my "tank 2 gray water" is reading incorrectly after dumping.

Since I want to drop the tanks and wrap all with heat wrap (I've done it before on my diesel pusher with no problems), would that be a good time to flush out the vents from the top and bottom? Just water flush or maybe some Dawn and water? DYI plumbers brush on a fabbed up 10' line and do it dry from the top first then drop the tanks? Both?

If anyone has ever had this problem let me know how you got it fixed up.
Thanks!

PS: I don't freak out at bugs or flying things but not fond of the thought one could come up the toilet bowl

If it comes up from the black tank and gets you on the keister...you'll find who really loves you by who removes the stinger!

As for cleaning out dried up VACANT wasp nests, flushing the vent pipes with water should break them up and drop them into the tank. A pressure washer jet would probably be better than a garden hose. A weighted bottle brush on a cord would also help knock them down. But for them to get inside from the vent pipes sounds a bit difficult. You might want to pull the vent covers for the refrigerator and make sure they're not in there. We had them build a nest behind our fridge one year. Used killer spray on it and then pulled it out. Following that, I used wire screen to cover all of the openings in both covers. Never had another nest in there. Also used the wire screen to line behind the pin box to keep starlings from building nests in our 5th Airborne pin box. Making wire screen inserts for under the vent caps would help keep them from doing it again.
 

ParkIt

Well-known member
If it comes up from the black tank and gets you on the keister...you'll find who really loves you by who removes the stinger!

As for cleaning out dried up VACANT wasp nests, flushing the vent pipes with water should break them up and drop them into the tank. A pressure washer jet would probably be better than a garden hose.
I have a pressure washer (max 1200 psi just for the rig) but was concerned about the pressure to the tanks. They were vacant...for the most part...grabbed my "It kills everything" stuff and misted them first with straight sprays down the pipe. Since I need to give the rig one last washing before winter, I'll probably try using the pressure washer but it's going to make me cringe a little.
A weighted bottle brush on a cord would also help knock them down. But for them to get inside from the vent pipes sounds a bit difficult. You might want to pull the vent covers for the refrigerator and make sure they're not in there. We had them build a nest behind our fridge one year. Used killer spray on it and then pulled it out. Following that, I used wire screen to cover all of the openings in both covers. Never had another nest in there. Also used the wire screen to line behind the pin box to keep starlings from building nests in our 5th Airborne pin box. Making wire screen inserts for under the vent caps would help keep them from doing it again.
I thought about wire screen covers, used them around the house for decades with no blockage to the venting system. I pulled all covers including the fridge because it was so close to the kitchen vent and they like to spread out but wasn't sure if anyone else had done it for long periods of time, checking them every couple of months (more often during winter bc of the rain) will still be done.
 

JohnDar

Prolifically Gabby Member
I have a pressure washer (max 1200 psi just for the rig) but was concerned about the pressure to the tanks. They were vacant...for the most part...grabbed my "It kills everything" stuff and misted them first with straight sprays down the pipe. Since I need to give the rig one last washing before winter, I'll probably try using the pressure washer but it's going to make me cringe a little.

I thought about wire screen covers, used them around the house for decades with no blockage to the venting system. I pulled all covers including the fridge because it was so close to the kitchen vent and they like to spread out but wasn't sure if anyone else had done it for long periods of time, checking them every couple of months (more often during winter bc of the rain) will still be done.

I washed our roof and slide toppers with a 1200 psi electric power washer with no problem, so using it to flush down the vent pipes should be OK. Use one of the spray tips, not the straight stream. It's not likely the nest are very far down the pipes, so you should be able to get rid of them. Just be sure the stream is inside the vent pipe and not outside of it or you'll have a different problem. Might want to have the sewer line connected and the tank valves open to make sure the debris gets flushed out.
 

ParkIt

Well-known member
I washed our roof and slide toppers with a 1200 psi electric power washer with no problem, so using it to flush down the vent pipes should be OK. Use one of the spray tips, not the straight stream. It's not likely the nest are very far down the pipes, so you should be able to get rid of them. Just be sure the stream is inside the vent pipe and not outside of it or you'll have a different problem. Might want to have the sewer line connected and the tank valves open to make sure the debris gets flushed out.
Yep. 1200 PSI electric is what I bought for the rig, also small enough to store in the front bin behind the hitch. I figured on keeping the valves open if I do this, don't want to get an air bubble stuck in the vent pipe, will just use the "low fan" tip since the wand will be in the pipe and not outside of it. No way I'm blowing the caulking around the vents...bad news right there.

But - how did that wasp get inside onto the floor? I can only trace it to the kitchen vent stack where it may have gone down then up the sink plumbing then crawled off and hit the floor????
hmmmm...
 

JohnDar

Prolifically Gabby Member
Yep. 1200 PSI electric is what I bought for the rig, also small enough to store in the front bin behind the hitch. I figured on keeping the valves open if I do this, don't want to get an air bubble stuck in the vent pipe, will just use the "low fan" tip since the wand will be in the pipe and not outside of it. No way I'm blowing the caulking around the vents...bad news right there.

But - how did that wasp get inside onto the floor? I can only trace it to the kitchen vent stack where it may have gone down then up the sink plumbing then crawled off and hit the floor????
hmmmm...

Isn't there a P-trap in the sink drain? Unless you dried it out, it would always have water in it. Wasps haven't learned to SCUBA dive yet...I don't think! It might have crawled in through a gap between a slide and the floor.
 

danemayer

Moderator
Staff member
Since I want to drop the tanks and wrap all with heat wrap

tank heating pads usually go on the bottom of the tank and aren't all that big. If you have stacked tanks, you'd have to drop one. On our rig, for example, Gray #1 is below the black tank, so I'd have to drop Gray #1 to add a heating pad to the Black tank. Fortunately, the factory took care of that for me. I did have to replace the heating pad on Gray #1, but since that was the lower tank, I didn't have to drop any tanks.
 

Gary521

Well-known member
I have added screens to all vent openings in the side of the trailer ( furnace, water heater. refrigerator ) just to keep bees out. As far as the roof, there is a plumbing vent cover called a 360 Siphon. These have a built in bug screen. These are available just about everywhere. I am sure that something can also be fabed up on the existing vent covers.
 

ParkIt

Well-known member
Isn't there a P-trap in the sink drain? Unless you dried it out, it would always have water in it. Wasps haven't learned to SCUBA dive yet...I don't think! It might have crawled in through a gap between a slide and the floor.
lol
I can only think it did get through the gap. The drains had water in them (blub blub blub)

tank heating pads usually go on the bottom of the tank and aren't all that big. If you have stacked tanks, you'd have to drop one. On our rig, for example, Gray #1 is below the black tank, so I'd have to drop Gray #1 to add a heating pad to the Black tank. Fortunately, the factory took care of that for me. I did have to replace the heating pad on Gray #1, but since that was the lower tank, I didn't have to drop any tanks.
Yeah, Gray #1 sits under black tank about half way over it so it will have to be dropped. I'm seriously considering Gray #1 & #2 going into one tank and centering them better with black water behind it (will reduce a Y joint into the tank). That tank will be smaller but it's just me so...not a lot of use. Still drafting on that one.

I have added screens to all vent openings in the side of the trailer ( furnace, water heater. refrigerator ) just to keep bees out. As far as the roof, there is a plumbing vent cover called a 360 Siphon. These have a built in bug screen. These are available just about everywhere. I am sure that something can also be fabed up on the existing vent covers.
I knew I'd seen mention of something but couldn't find the post for the name of it. Thanks for posting that for me, it's on my Amazon list now :D
 
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