Honey Bees in the Chimney

Honey Bees In The Chimney

What To Do If Honey Bees Choose Your Chimney

You have three choices.

Leave them - they won't damage your home.
Remove them - very rarely are they accessible
Destroy them - the saddest, but commonest option

Leave The Honey Bees:

If you have honey bees in a chimney that is disused then, in most cases, you can easily seal up a chimney with a pillow, small duvet or simply some plywood or other durable sheet material fixed across the fire place entrance. 

This temporary measure can be supported with a more permanent and robust proofing solution later on if the bees decide they are going to become a permanent feature of your chimney.

When Honey bees become settled and embedded in a chimney they rarely cause any problems to the structural integrity of the property, but what can become more evident are the following:

wax and bee moths
The Bee Moth is purely a nuisance pest
Moths - wax moths and bee moths are extremely common pests of bees and these moths, very often become a common feature in your home.

Wax moths and bee moths won't damage your textiles, like carpet and clothes moths will and are much larger that those moths.

If you look at the the moth pictured here, you will see it has a very distinctive head, with what looks like a very long nose!

Honey Oozing - Yes, sometimes the combs collapse and fall down the chimney. They can be significant and contain dozens of litres of honey that seeps out of cracks etc in your walls, encouraging other nuisance insects into the inaccessible voids of your home.

Any honey from treated colonies will also contain pesticide residues, so should be considered poisonous.

More concerning is the risk of these combs dislodging your proofing measures and filling the room with thousands of confused and unhappy bees!

Damp - sometimes chimney cavities that are blocked and left unventilated either intentionally or by the long term build up of wax comb, will entertain the stagnant air we know is responsible for the build up of moisture, damp and mould.

We have seen this a number of times in chimneys that have been inhabited by Honey Bees for many years.

Remove The Honey Bees:

In rare cases it is possible to remove the bees. We have never experienced this opportunity because most bee swarms go straight down the chimney and into the house, where we only have one option!

Every year we hear about people who have saved the bees and simply caused them to move on, only to discover they have misled the customer and used pesticides to kill the bees. This leaves honey stores open to the elements and pesticides fully exposed to contaminate bees from other colonies.

This is a contravention of the what is required in best practice and could leave the customer or operator open to litigation.

Destroy The Honey Bees:

This is the most common solution and the most heartbreaking to do. It is often a very expensive process and there are strict guidelines on how this needs to be carried out correctly.

1. The bees must must be eliminated in the shortest time possible.
2. The bees honeycomb must be removed where possible.
3. The entry point must be sealed to prevent bees from other colonies being contaminated by the pesticides used.

As you can see from the image at the top, the powered access required is robust and expensive to hire. For many customers the options are even more expensive because scaffolding needs to be erected and construction services are needed to proof the chimney securely.

Please share your thoughts with us on any ways you might know to move honey bees on without pesticides or without destroying them.