72-year-old Derry man has said he is desperate for a long-standing wasp invasion of his home to be sorted out.
Liam Melaugh from Friel Close in Ballymagroarty this week expressed fears for the safety of his three-year-old granddaughter and his 18-month-old grandson, who was born with a foot problem that made him more susceptible to tumbling, if the problem is not sorted out.
Mr Melaugh said that the bizarre problem stretched back over 10 years, with around 50 wasps a week arriving in his living room via the vents in his electric fireplace.
He said he has been constantly trying to get help through the authorities, who have in the past enlisted the help of pest control experts.
Despite this however, the annual invasion has returned from each summer, and sometimes right through to December.
The Housing Executive have now confirmed they will now take action at the property in a bid to eradicate the problem.
The development came after the Journal visited Mr Melaugh at his home earlier this week and witnessed first hand the wasps arriving in the living room.
Mr Melaugh, who suffers from a range of serious health complaints and uses a walking stick to help with his mobility, said he was afraid for the safety of his grandchildren.
Speaking about the problem he said: “Every day they come in here. You think you are watching the TV but you are really looking over at the fire-place, looking, waiting for them to come in.
“Sometimes I’ll see them out of the corner of my eye. Other times they are on the window before I see them.
“If it was just me it wouldn’t be so bad, it’s the kids I’m worried about.
“I have a grandson and he was born with his foot the wrong way round. He is walking now and falling down. He is only going about four steps and I’m afeared he would get stung with them.
“Children at 18 months, they see a thing on the floor they will pick it up and stick it into their mouths. That’s the first thing they would do. You have to watch for them.”
Mr Melaugh said he had tried repeatedly to get the problem sorted out.
“I have been reporting it for a long time and one time they sent a boy out who came and looked up the chimney and said there was nothing he could do. There might not have been a nest but they were coming in here.
“It started early this year, usually it’s about August. Last year I was still getting them in November, December.”
Three years ago Mr Melaugh himself was stung after one crawled up his leg.
Now he sits with his walking stick to one side of him and a can of wasp killer spray beside him.
Mr Melaugh said he was not sure what was drawing the wasps, but said that one pest control expert who visited him this week said that it might be plants in the vicnity attracting the bees, while another theory is that they are gathering to die.”
Mr Melaugh said the same officer had givne assurances that he wpould pass on detials of the problem to try and get the fireplace taken out before treating it with material that would stop the problkem reoccuring.
A spokesperson for the Housing Executive said:
“A maintenance officer has visited the property and discussed the options available with the tenant. It has been agreed that the chimney will be blocked and this work will take place in the near future.”
A spokeswoman for Derry City Council confirmed: “Council no longer operates a pest control service but can provide the public with information and advice when dealing with pest control issues if required.”