by Sanin Mulic, Barber Foods
After attending my level one instruction during the week, and ITC wetting my appetite for thermal imaging, I returned home with my company's P-65 camera. I decided to scan my own house to practice what I was taught all week. All looked good until I went upstairs and noticed a bright spot on the inside wall. I took several images of the spot and come Monday, I talked to two level 2 associates about what I had found. There were several possibilities and I was told to take several more shots at different times to see if it moved or varied in temperature. When we found it never moved I suggested that it might be insects (wasps, hornets, etc.) and talked with one of the other thermographers who would bring in a stethoscope to see if I could hear them before opening up the wall.
I couldn’t wait, so that night armed with a drill, a can of flying insect killer, and the enthusiasm of a new thermographer, I went up to the room; my pet cat, who loves to lay in the window there, had to investigate with me too. I approximated where the hotspot was and drilled a 1/8 “ hole through the wall board. As I removed the drill bit, about 8 to 10 yellow jackets came charging through the hole and I started to spray the bug spray at the hole. By this time, the yellow jackets were in an attack mode and I started to swing at them in defense. Out of the corner of my eye I saw my cat speeding to the door with his tail bigger than I have ever seen it. I finally killed the last one, sprayed about 1/3 of the can, and plugged the hole; but not before being stung twice. I went outside and saw a swarm just outside the window. I drilled a second hole a few inches above it and knowing what was going to follow, I had the spray ready to go as soon as the drill came out. I sprayed about 1/3 of the can and then plugged the hole. I returned several hours later and the swarm was gone. I climbed a ladder and found a small hole where they were coming and going. I plugged that from the outside. As I came back inside I saw my cat peaking from around the door as if to ask “Is it safe to come out now?”
After a few days I took another thermal image and there was no evidence of the yellow jackets remaining. I submitted this investigation as my level one field report and it passed, but the memory of this initial experience will last a long time (the cat won’t forget it either!)