Bees in Your Chimney? Do’s and Don’ts
Bees are most active in the warmer spring and summer months, and it is not uncommon for bees to build their hives inside the chimney. These tiny creatures can squeeze through small openings like the weep hole, masonry cracks, or chimney cap, for example. Once inside, you may hear them buzzing around as they get to work building their beehives. So, if there are bees in your chimney, there are a few things you can do to avoid being stung.
Don’t Try Removing the Bees Yourself
Trying to remove the bees yourself can be very dangerous. When the bees are agitated, you can be stung by a swarm of bees. Also, many individuals are allergic to bee stings. Bee removal should be done only by a professional beekeeper or exterminator.
Don’t Kill the Bees
Some homeowners spray insecticide into the chimney or hire an exterminator to kill a bee colony. This intervention is not recommended as it can make bees more aggressive as they panic to escape. You shouldn’t approach a bee colony without protective clothing to prevent bee stings. Keep in mind that bees are less aggressive in the late afternoon or evening. However, bees are incredibly vital in the environment, and homeowners are discouraged from killing them.
Don’t Build a Fire
Avoid building a fire in your fireplace if there is an established colony in the chimney. Beeswax is flammable, and the liquid wax may erode your masonry and cause more issues. The heat from a fireplace will also melt the honey and create a sticky mess. It can also cause the bees to panic from the smoke and fly into your house.
Do Close the Damper
Close the damper to form an airtight seal between the flue and fireplace. Bees are also attracted to light, and if there are any gaps when the damper is shut, they can still get into the home. You can use a chimney plug to ensure the seal is airtight.
Do Contact a Bee Professional
Contacting a certified beekeeper is an ideal option for bee removal. The beekeeper will safely and humanely remove the bees and relocate them to a friendlier environment without harming them. In some cases, it may not be possible to remove the bees, and extermination may be necessary. A professional exterminator will use a chemical spray that will kill the bees inside the flue.
Do Clean Your Chimney
Once the bees have been removed or exterminated, contact a chimney sweep to clean your chimney. The smell from any remaining honeycomb or honey in the chimney can attract small animals and pests. Also, the chemicals used in extermination may leave a corrosive residue that can damage masonry walls and metal components.
How to Keep Bees Out of the Chimney
The best thing to do is to keep bees from entering your fireplace or chimney. Ensure that the damper and gasket seal is not worn or damaged. A chimney sweep can also fit your system with a chimney cap to discourage bees from getting inside. Consider replacing your throat damper with a top-sealing damper. Furthermore, cleaning your roof and gutters with water and soap in the warmer months may discourage bees from flying too close to your home.