Chimneys make a great place for bees and wasps to make their homes. Although this can be a huge frustration, there are alternative to bombing them with pesticides.
To prevent bees, wasps, and other insects from entering your chimney, install a top damper. A top damper is a metal “door” that closes off the opening at the top of your chimney. You can open and close the damper by means of a cable routed down the chimney to a latch installed just inside the fireplace.
Solving A Wasp Problem
If you already have bees or wasps in your chimney, here are some ways of coping with the problem. Wasps make nests that look like grey paper honeycombs. You can drive them off by keeping a fire going in your fireplace for a few days. If this is not an option you want to attempt it’s OK to spray them with insecticide. Be careful though: spraying them will make them very angry and they may attack.
Solving A Bee Problem
Given the benefit that honey bees bring to the surrounding environment, using pesticides may not be the “go to” solution. Honey bees move from one location to another when their hives are disturbed or become overcrowded. This migration is called swarming. At their new location, the honey bees form clumps containing hundreds of individuals.
If a swarm enters your chimney, or is trying to do so, try to find a local beekeeper who will come and capture the bees. This is the environmentally sound way to deal with the bees, and they are quite valuable to the beekeeper. Your local Cooperative Extension Agent can help you find a nearby beekeeper.
If you have a few honey bees flying around your chimney, they may be scouts sent out by the hive to find a new location. Light a fire in the fireplace and use the smoke to make your chimney an inhospitable location.
Sometimes a swarm of honey bees takes up residence in a chimney, especially in houses that are uninhabited for a while, and makes honey comb. When this happens, the first thing to do is to block off the chimney, just above the fireplace, so the bees don’t enter your home. Then, ask for help from a local beekeeper. He or she will install a device called a “trap out” to the top of your chimney. When worker bees try to leave the chimney to forage for nectar, the trap out will block their exit. They will report back to the hive that there’s no way out and the hive will begin to swarm. The only place the bees can go is into the trap out. Once the swarm has re-located into the trap out, the beekeeper can take the bees, in the device, to a better home.
After they bees have been removed, you will need to have a chimney sweep clean your chimney to remove the honeycomb the bees have left behind. This material is flammable, so removing it completely is not a do-it-yourself task. Give us a call at 630-279-8500 and we will be glad to schedule the cleaning.