When it comes to owning a home with a chimney, there will be times that homeowners need to give the chimney a thorough cleaning. Most of the time, the chimney will only need a simple annual cleaning, but there are times when a homeowner may discover an extra unwelcome guest living in their flue.
We know that bees can be an intimidating force of nature, and we understand that homeowners with bee infestations will want to diagnose the problem and seek out the best way to get rid of them.
In this article, we have outlined the information you will need to take care of your infestation.
Important Considerations if You Have Bees in Your Chimney
While finding bees may be annoying or even frightening, they are actually beneficial to the environment. Before you start to think about how to remove the bees from your chimney, there are a few things you must keep in mind both for your own safety and for the bees.
Bees May Be Protected by Law
Bees pollinate vegetation and produce honey for people to eat. Because of their pollination, humans can enjoy many plant-based foods. If bees disappeared, so would many foods such as vanilla, apples, and almonds.
Because honeybees are such an important factor in the agricultural world, the law may be protecting bees in your state. Depending on your state or municipality, you may not be able to remove the bees without hiring a professional.
Before seeking out a removal method, ensure that you check with your state’s guidelines on what animals have the law on their side.
Even if your state does not protect bees from extermination, some professionals can help you relocate the bees rather than exterminate them. Contacting a local beekeeper is another way to find out more information regarding bees.
Bees Can Cause a Fire Hazard
If bees decided to colonize your chimney as their new home, it can be more than just a simple annoyance. Any beehive, whether it’s active or inactive, may pose a serious fire hazard.
Bees produce honey and beeswax, both of which are flammable. If a fire starts within your chimney, it can quickly grow out of control and cause permanent damage to the structure of your home.
While investigating bee problems, it is important not to start a fire in your fireplace because of the risk of starting a chimney fire. Starting a fire with an active hive in your chimney can also cause the bees to panic which could cause them to fly into your home and sting you.
Bees Typically Colonize During the Warm Season
During the spring and summertime is when bees are at their peak. Whether they are bumblebees or honey bees, they tend to colonize when it is mating or pollinating season.
Bees can also colonize fairly quickly. Much like many other infestation types, seeing one bee can mean that there are at least a hundred more hidden away. In most cases a homeowner will not notice an infestation right away and the first be they see in their home is just one of many colonizing your chimney.
Steps to Take for Removing Bees from Your Chimney
Removing bees is not an easy process, but it is possible to safely and professionally remove bees. There are a few things that you can do to help aid the removal or relocation of a bee’s nest.
Close Off the Chimney
Before removing and handling an infestation, the chimney should be closed off to prevent more bees from coming inside the home.
To close off a fireplace, tape off the entrance with a thick plastic bag secured to the wall with painter’s tape. You may also want to close your chimney damper so that bees living in the flue do not enter the firebox.
Check for Weep Holes or Damaged Bricks
Oftentimes, there are small holes or flaws in the chimney structure or the flue that allow bees to slip in and out with ease.
Checking the chimney for any structural compromises can prevent any stray bees from restarting a hive after the removal or relocation process.
Check the Top of Your Chimney
More likely than not, the cause of a bee infestation starts at the top of the chimney.
If the top of the chimney is not in proper shape, it can provide many openings for bees and other pests to crawl into. Replacing your chimney cap or having a top-sealing damper installed can help prevent future bee infestations.
Consult with a Professional Bee Removal Company
After you’ve checked some of the places where the bees may have come in to prevent more from entering your chimney and home, it’s time to think about removal. The best way to rid a chimney of a beehive is to call a professional team.
There are trained professional teams of pest removers and individuals who know how to get the existing bees and beehive out safely, efficiently, and legally. To ensure that another infestation will not occur, a homeowner must remove the beehive.
We do not recommend using any pesticide to remove bees, and professionals urge against this method. The mix of insecticides and other flammable substances (such as wax, honey, honeycomb, and even dead bees) within the chimney flue may cause an even bigger chimney fire hazard.
Depending on where the infestation is occurring, it may be illegal to kill bees, especially honeybees. It’s better to play it safe and hire a professional team who will relocate the bees to a place where the bees can live without causing damage to the home.
Next Steps: What to do After Honey Bee Removal?
After a homeowner has removed the infestation, they should hire a certified chimney sweep to perform a chimney sweep and inspection.
Because of the fire hazard posed by having bees colonize your chimney, it is not safe to use your chimney until it has been cleaned and inspected. A certified chimney sweep can also recommend the best options to keep bees, hornets, birds, and other critters out of your home.
Long-term Solutions to Prevent Bees From Building a Hive
There are a few steps that you can take to prevent new bees from nesting in your chimney and to ensure that you won’t have to go through another bee removal process.
Make Sure Your Chimney is in Good Shape
Keeping your chimney in good repair is the best way to deter bees from making a hive. Regular chimney and fireplace maintenance can reduce or eliminate the need for pest control or an exterminator in the first place. But contacting a professional as soon as you notice bee activity can also help.
Install a Chimney Cap or Top-Sealing Chimney Damper
If your home does not already have a chimney cap, installing one can help prevent another infestation. Alternatively, installing a top-sealing damper for your chimney can also keep pests out.
The certified chimney professionals at Priddy Chimney Sweeps have decades of experience in servicing fireplaces and chimney. If you’ve recently had problems with bees in your chimney, contact us today to see how we can help you with a sweep and inspection or with the installation of a chimney cap or damper to keep new pests out.