A HUGE wasps nest built around a loft lightbulb sparked a fire at a house in a borough village.
Firefighters were called to a detached house in Basingstoke Road, Ramsdell, at 9.36am on Monday to a report of smoke in the loft space of the two-storey building.
Crew manager Phil Phillips said engineers trying to fit insulation had turned on a light before going up to the loft. When they looked inside they noticed smoke, and the alarm was raised.
He said: “When we got there, the loft was completely full of smoke. We found that wasps had built a massive nest over a bulb holder, and the heat from the bulb had set fire to the nest, and in turn some insulation.”
Mr Phillips said the nest was 3ft wide, but it appeared to be empty of the winged insects. The fire took 15 minutes to put out, because the light bulb was in an awkward position in the loft. Part of the first floor was damaged by smoke.
Wasps build their nests by digesting wood, turning it into paper using their saliva, before regurgitating the pulp at their chosen site, which then dries hard. Referring to the cause of the fire, Mr Phillips added: “I have never come across anything like this before.” The householders were not available for comment.