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    handyman on call

    Yellow jackets under siding will soon die off

    Q. Since August, yellow jackets have been flying in and out at one spot under the vinyl siding where it begins at the concrete base on which my house rests. Will I have to have some of the siding removed to find and destroy the nest? If I just ignore them, what would be the consequences? Do they leave for the winter? What damage can they do to my house?


    CAROL ORR, Malden

    A. Leave them alone. Yellow Jackets, hornets, paper wasps, ground wasps, mud daubers, and others will die out in cold weather, leaving the queen to over-winter and start a new colony in the spring. The only thing that can happen is that the corpses may smell for a while. Don’t spray them with anything; they will be dead in a month.


     One thing you can do is find the opening where they come out, and plug that section at the bottom of the siding with an adhesive caulk to keep them out in the spring.

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    Q. I have a question about rugs over radiant heat floors. Are they recommended and if so what kind of a pad makes sense under say an area rug like an Oriental? Where can I buy the padding?



    A. I think an Oriental rug with or without a pad would be good on a radiant floor. To be sure, call a radiant floor installer and ask. The Oriental rug will allow heat to pass through it. So will a pad, as long as it is a wool felt pad or similar pad that allows heat through. Carpet dealers can sell you a pad or tell you where to find one.

    Q. My wife was given a very large (about 3 feet high and 3 feet in diameter) glazed garden pot by a friend. I believe that it is some sort of pottery. The pot is split in two and she would like me to repair it. I am inclined to use construction adhesive, but feel that there must be a better way to make the repair. What would you suggest?



    A. Construction adhesive (Liquid Nails) will be good for that garden pot, partly because it is waterproof. Or, try Super Glue. Also good is an adhesive caulk, such as PolySeamSeal or PhenoSeal. The two latter ones (and Liquid Nails) are sold as caulking cartridges.

     Even better, if the pot has more than intrinsic value, have it professionally repaired. Try Trefler & Sons of Newton, 617-965-3388.

    Q. The issue I have is with my day bed. The springs on the frame (where the mattress sits) have started to squeak when you sit or sleep on it. It was from Pottery Barn and they have been little help. It is about 10 years old but has seen little use. Maybe a week out of the year someone sleeps on it, and an occasional passerby sits on it. There are two (1-inch ) metal support beams 25 inches from each end that seem to be the root of the squeaking. I have sprayed WD-40 on them with no luck. We also put a board on top of the frame and it still squeaked. The beams have been screwed in permanently so no loose screws.


    TABOR MOHNS, Bedford


    A. The frame of a day bed, I think, is the same as a regular bed, which is a box spring, a series of springs concealed by a dust cover, a thin but sturdy cloth. I’m surprised that WD-40 didn’t help much. Perhaps you missed the right springs. So this is what to do: attach the red rod to your WD-40 spray can, punch the rod through the cloth and spray. Punch it through various locations and it is likely to work. Be sure to spray those two support beams. If nothing works, with such rare usage, you can live with it.

    Q. I have some high-quality fabric window shades. I keep them down quite a bit, but I noticed mold growing on the window side. What can I do?


    A. Whether you kept them down for darkness, or to save heating costs, you kept them down too long, and moisture was caught behind the shade, causing mold to grow in that damp environment.

     Take each shade down and lay it on the floor with the moldy side up. That is probably the only part of the shade that is moldy. Treat it with a solution of 1 part bleach and 3 parts water. Let dry, and put it back up. You can pull it down for darkness at night, but put it back up in the morning, so moisture will not ­accumulate.

     If you pulled the shades down to save heating costs, don’t bother. Unless the shade is an insulated shade and is tightly held against the window frame, it won’t save heat.

    Peter Hotton is available 1-6 p.m. Tuesdays to answer questions. Call 617-929-2930 or e-mail He also chats on line 2-3 p.m. Thursdays. To participate, go to