Honey bees in chimney stacks
Honey bees in chimney stacks are very common these days.
We attend more live bee removals with honey bees in chimney stacks than we do any other type of live honey bee cut-out removal and relocation – you can see more on this at Why honey bees like chimneys where we explain why honey bees are so attracted to chimneys, and other high locations on properties.
The most common reason for honey bees being able to colonise a chimney is the poor condition of the flaunching or jointing as a result of weathering (and very often poor material use by not so knowledgeable builders). Bear in mind chimneys take the brunt of the weather and because they are so inaccessible are often overlooked when it comes to maintenance, and when the property is being surveyed for reselling.
No need to dismantle the chimney
When removing “honey bees in chimney” we aim to remove all the bees alive, the comb, the honey, the bees wax and if possible all the detritus. We have not yet needed to dismantle a chimney to do this – not saying we haven’t felt like using a stick of dynamite on the odd occasion, or that it maybe necessary to do sometime in the future, but for now we have not “had to” dismantle a chimney.
In fact these days we rarely need to remove more than 4 bricks even if the colony extends down the space by 2 metres or more, which is quite possible if the bees have been in situ for a couple of years.
When working on a “honey bees in chimney removal” we more often than not need to remove the flaunching and pot to allow proper access to the chimney flue to remove the bees.
We are able to reinstate the pot and flaunching at the end of the job.
This would be an ideal time to have your chimney stack inspected by a chimney expert and have any additional repair work carried out. If the bees have been utilising damaged flaunching (cement top) to access the chimney flue then often it is best to replace the rest of the flaunching at the same time – this is something we can do for you, on completion of the bee removal process.
Very often the pots should be changed at the same time, despite them appearing to be in good condition on removal and reinstatement, they can often crack over the next 12 months or so. A good test to identify the condition of the pot is to give it a tap and listen to it, it should have a clear crisp bell sound.
When we carry out removals of honey bees in chimney stacks its usually because honey bees have occupied a chimney space in one of three standard scenarios or some combination of the three;
Honey bees in chimney liner space
Often bees will find their way between a gas flue liner or solid fuel burner flue liner and the original chimney, more often than not it’s the space between the gas flue and the original chimney. These liners tend to be flexible steel liners, rigid metal liners or concrete flue liners. Often if the liner is a rigid metal or concrete flue liner the bees nest can be removed without having to do anything with the liner, unfortunately if the liner is a flexible flue liner it usually needs to be removed. There’s lots of reasons for this and they are all for your health and safety. Obviously there are occasions when this is not the case mostly to do with the length of time the bees have been in situ.
In all instances that a liner may need to be removed we suggest talking to your local gas engineer (or solid fuel HETAS engineer) about the likelihood of the fire needing to be decommissioned and removed so that we can carry out the task of removing the bees from the chimney, after which the gas engineer can reinstate and recommission the gas fire. We recommend that you arrange for this to be done yourselves, but can advise you on the need for this if required.
If there’s a flue liner for a wood or multi-fuel stove in the chimney then once we have removed the honey bees in chimney stack (ready for relocation) the flue liner and stove connection should be inspected by a HETAS engineer before the system is used.
Obviously there are occasions when this is not needed, mostly to do with the length of time the bees have been in situ, but you should be aware of the possibility of it.
No longer used open chimney space, capped or not
Honey bees will also colonise an unused open chimney space that has either been capped to allow the chimney to breathe (these are rarely designed to keep wasps and bees from setting up home) or left uncapped, allowing rain and anything else access. It is not that common for honey bees to occupy a chimney that does not have some sort of cover unless there is a substantial lip beneath the pot. This is because they need to be able to attach and hang comb from something. When we do come across this situation there is often some wire mesh on the top of the pot – intention of which is probably to prevent birds nesting particularly jackdaws.
Vented sealed chimney flues
No longer used sealed chimney
We also go to a lot of chimneys that have been sealed over with a flag stone or completely flaunched. The honey bees are usually gaining access to the chimney space because of the effects of weathering on the flaunching or poor quality mortar mix. In these cases we always recommend that you discuss how you reinstate the chimney with your chimney sweep as most disused chimneys should be allowed to breath as well as be capped to prevent water ingress or further infestations of honey bees or wasps.
For a lot more detailed info about “honeybees in chimney” please see our page Removing bees in a chimney where we discuss the subject further.
honey bees in chimney – Essentials to remember
For a more lot more detailed info about “honeybees in chimney” please see our page removing-bees-chimney where we discuss the subject again in more detail.
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 EXPERTS and investigate out Tag cloud too.
Don’t forget a general overview on honey bee removals which can be found at ‘Live honey bee removal‘.