Honey Bee Removal Guarantees & Bee Proofing
Honey Bee Proofing solutions
Proofing against a honey bee re infestation post a honey bee removal is absolutely essential.
The scent from the comb and propolis of the removed bee nest is highly attractive to passing bees, and lasts for years after.
Because of the strong active scent created by historic bee colonies a previously colonised space is always going to be a strong attractant acting like a beacon for new swarms to show interest in.
Any newly arrived swarm will only require a 6 mm hole to gain access the space to re infest. This can be easily found in tiles and slates.
Unfortunately sealing all holes can be detrimental to the health of the building as buildings need to be able to breathe.
We have some smart & up to now unique solutions for this problem, which take into account the need for the property to be able to breathe and for the prevention of re-infestation – and these solutions do not cost a fortune.
Some areas of a property are a lot easier to proof against. Proofing against bees returning to a chimney or brick wall cavity is relatively straightforward. But it becomes less straightforward if looking at proofing an old soffit, or slated roof, even more so for an old clay tiled roof.
To proof a specific section of roof or wall is straightforward but often its not practical to proof the whole as its just way too expensive to do so.
BUT there are things that can be done to reduce the likelihood of a reoccurrence of a honey bee colony taking up residence.
Unfortunately doing a quick search on google will not provide any great methods for proofing against honey bee re infestation.
Honey bee Proofing chimneys and walls
Places such as chimneys and brick wall cavities are relatively straightforward to proof, as cement is relatively long lasting and solid. There is usually a requirement for these places to be vented to prevent damp issues, so any honey bee proofing techniques should allow for this.
We will regularly use stainless steel mesh to assist us in proofing against a re infestation of honey bees in a brick cavity wall or chimney.
We also utilise c-caps which are an inexpensive well proven honey bee proofing device that allows for air & moisture circulation within an unused flue while preventing honey bees and water ingress – obviously these can not be used on live flues.
Honey bee proofing a live flue serving natural draught open-flued appliance
No mesh that has a sufficiently small gap space to prevent bees from gaining access should be used around a live fire place terminal as stated in Building Regulations Section J paragraph 3.25
Flues serving natural draught open-flued appliances in areas where nests of squirrels or jackdaws are likely, the fitting of a protective cage designed for solid fuel use and having a mesh size no larger than 25mm, (but no smaller than 6mm) may be an acceptable provision if the total free area of its outlet opening is at least twice the csa of the flue.
This goes for any mesh fitted to a terminal serving an appliance that burns sold fuels, it not only contravenes building regulations but is more importantly downright dangerous.
Honey bee proofing a live flue serving a gas appliance
If the appliance is gas a much smaller gauge mesh can be considered, however, it would be prudent in such instances to garner advice from the cowl manufacturer so that any change in design and thus third party liability could be mitigated.
Honey bee Proofing Considerations
Beekeepers will be familiar with various dimensions of equipment, for example a queen excluder used for keeping the queen bee from laying eggs in honey supers has a standard wire spacing of 4.3mm, this allows worker bees to pass through the gap but not the queen, nor the male drones.
Beekeepers looking to collect pollen will use a 5mm square mesh, to knock the pollen of the legs of returning bees. For those looking to allow worker bees and queens to pass but to exclude male drone bees then a gap of between 5.2mm & 5.4mm.
So to guarantee that no honey bees are going to return to the property, you need to ensure there are no gaps larger than 5.5mm.
Does Honey Bee Proofing cause damp
It seems like its only common sense that someone employed to carry out a live honey bee removal would have a full understanding of what to consider when reinstating and proofing against a re infestation.
Yet regularly we hear of foolish actions showing little thought.
Nice as it would be to be able to just fill a cavity wall so that nothing could occupy it, it is not quite so straightforward.
Air and moisture movement needs to be considered, so as not to cause condensation and damp problems further down the road.
As a quick reference see wikipedia “unoccupied attics should usually be ventilated to reduce the accumulation of heat and moisture that contribute to mold growth and decay of wood rafters and ceiling joists”.
Obviously its more complicated than this blunt quote but that’s a whole area of discussion and research.
The good news is that there are a few things that can be done that will go a long way towards the prevention of the honey bees returning without causing possible damp issues and wood rot in the future. These can be best discussed on site on completion of the removal prior to the proofing & reinstatement process.
Honey Bee Removal Guarantees
Honey bee Guarantees: is there a need for them
So having read the above about proofing, you may ask should you purchase a guarantee, to cover for the possibility of a return of the bees.
We would absolutely suggest not, we feel this is a waste of your money, but should you feel its necessary we will match any guarantee on offer, be it 12 months, 3 years, 5 years or more, in the safe knowledge that you are being very generous.
Before you insist on having a guarantee, have a good read of its offering.
There are some out there giving a guarantee against honey bees re infesting the same location – we think this is a bit of a cheat and below you will see why.
Guarantee against bees recolonising a roof
How easily a roof can be proofed against honey bees reinfesting is going to be dependent upon what type of roof it is and where the bees are entering the roof.
So for example if the roof is a tightly fitted slate, and the bees have found their way through a broken slate or damaged section then a guarantee against them returning once the colony has been removed and the slates repaired is totally unnecessary as obviously they cant get in.
On the other hand if the roof is using old clay tiles, that are not well fitted, the only way to guarantee that the bees won’t return would be to remove all the tiles, and ensure that any membrane used beneath the tiles is sufficiently strong for the tiles not wear over time and is tight enough to the roof around the edges and seems to ensure bees can’t pass. But then if this has been done wheres the need for the guarantee.
Does the guarantee cover the whole property, all the roof, all the wall, all chimneys?
Probably not. Whenever we have seen a copy of the guarantee being offered it is very specific to the location of the bee removal being carried out. They are only guaranteeing against the recolonisation of a very specific part of the building or roof, not the whole, because it’s impossible to guarantee the whole against reinfestation without carrying out a total rebuild.
Guarantee against bees recolonising a wall cavity
To guarantee a specific section of a wall against honey bees re infesting it, is again a complete waste of money. Providing the proofing work has been carried out satisfactorily ie any damaged mortar or holes have been filled correctly.
The materials used to carry out this proofing and reinstatement are going to offer sufficient strength to last the time of any guarantee. If anything having a guarantee maybe detrimental. Using to strong a mortar for weakly constructed bricks could lead to sparring and cracking of the bricks.
If bees where entering through an airbrick into the wall cavity the air brick can be proofed using stainless steel mesh on the inside face of the brick during the reinstatement process, this is straightforward.
Similarly if weep holes are being used by the bees to gain access these can be very easily proofed so that they can continue providing their function but no longer be used as an access spot by honey bees.
If the bees were simply finding there way thru missing joints in the mortar work then these can be filled and repointed.
Guarantee against bees recolonising a chimney
As per above with the walls, guaranteeing against bees re infesting a chimney is a breeze but totally unnecessary. Its just a question of using the correct materials appropriately.
Obviously any flue that is in use can not be guaranteed. This would contravene Building Regulations and simply defies common sense.
This why insect proof chimney cowls are not on sale. Anyone offering them for a live flue is contravening building regulations and manufacturers instructions, anfd by using them you are probably negating any insurance policy you have.
For flues that are not in use there is an excellent cap available that allows for the chimney flue to have an airflow but that keeps out rain and insects, We regularly use these as part of our reinstatement work.
Should there be an unusually shaped pot then it maybe a question of being creative with the use of stainless steel mesh, adhesive (used for bird proofing) and possibly some lead. Always with the consideration that we should not create a scenario that will lead to a damp problem.
Guarantee against reinfestation of a tiled/slated space
Nobody can offer a proper guarantee that additional swarms won’t in the future recolonise the roof space, if anyone is suggesting that they do then please read the guarantee carefully and look at all the get out clauses that are included – you will find it’s not quite the guarantee you expect.
It’s an unrealistic task to seal of a roof space sealing every hole that a bee could enter.
From what we have seen, anyone offering a guarantee is only offering it on the part of the roof that the original colony was in. In this situation they fill the space so that it cannot be occupied, which we would normally do any way (providing building regulations allow for it).
BUT this does not guarantee that the bees won’t occupy the space in the adjoining area between the next set of rafters, which is not covered in any of the guarantees that we are aware of.
The guarantee is very specific stating only the space previously occupied by the honey bees in the roof is guaranteed. Well they can rest easy on that having filled the space. Furthermore it is only the time spent on removing the bees that is covered, not the access, not the materials and only after another expensive survey has been purchased.
This is an inconsequential guarantee that sounds good but is not worth anything.
Still want a guarantee?
Read the conditions again!
Does it cover access costs?
Still really need a guarantee? You Can have one from us
If you really want a guarantee then we are very happy to match any guarantee for the same fee dependent upon access costs, which are unlikely to be included in the one that you have been offered already.
PS. Others are guaranteeing the removal of the honey bees – one would hope so, that is after all why they are there, why would you pay them for not removing them? BUT we have seen that to.
Our honey bee relocation Specialist is waiting for you!
Swarmcatcher are the UK honey bee colony removal specialists that provide an ethical eco-friendly bee removal and relocation service across the UK.
For further information on bee removal and relocation please use the contact form in the side bar or message button below, or CALL 01297 441272 to speak to someone local who knows all about it.
If you are looking for information on removing bees from a chimney check out our article ‘Honey bees in chimney‘, or if you repeatedly have bee swarms take up home in your chimney you may want to look at our page ‘Why honey bees like chimneys‘ & ‘Everything you need to consider when removing bees in a chimney‘ which is a fairly extensive overview.
For examples on removals of honey bees from these and other more unusual places check thru our blog page Honey Bee Removal Blog and investigate our Tag cloud too.
Don’t forget a general overview on honey bee removals which can be found at ‘Live honey bee removal‘.