Sorry bees…

Given the general household upheaval associated with the major insulation work I’ve had done, I took the opportuntity to have some of the insulation in the eaves of my house replaced this week. It had been badly installed, at least 15 years ago, and needed doing properly because there were so many gaps in it that it was almost useless.

Insulation is a fundamentally eco product, because of the amount of space heating energy it saves. Consequently, I have no particular qualms about people using synthetic insulations in situations where it won’t result in a moisture problem. Whilst in an ideal world, everyone will use a ‘natural’ material that is ‘non-toxic’ (I’m not sure this eco-nirvana actually exists, hence the quotation marks), to my mind any insulation product is better than none.

Which is all a bit of a prelude (or eco-confession?) for the photo below, which is of the insulation that came out. It’s glass wool (yes, the itchy horrible stuff that gives you glass splinters) and polystyrene. Seems to have had bumble bees nesting in it (happy to be corrected on this, but it doesn’t look like wasps). All the white dust is polystyrene insulation that is disintegrated. Presumably it’s bee poo, but I hate to think what it does to a bumble bee digestive system.

Glass wool insulation (pinky orange), extensively nested (brown). The white dust is from closed cell polystyrene.

So I am now questioning the idea that synthetic insulation is less prone to infestation than natural insulation products. And I’m feeling a bit guilty that the poor creatures have been eating such a horrible product; if my insulation is going to be eaten by insects, then maybe I should have given them something nicer.

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