How to get rid of bees

How to get rid of bees in a Chimney


● New honeybee swarm on chimney
● Established beehive in chimney
    - open chimney
    - caped chimney
● Wasps & hornets in chimney top
Bee id chart
Wast identification

New honeybee swarm on chimney top

Bees in chimney-tops can be challenging. New beehives, prior to moving into the chimney will send out a scout party of 10 to 100 bees in search of a new home. You may find some bees inside the house up against the window in a room near the chimney. Scout bees inspecting a chimney often wander too far down the flue and gets lost inside the house. At this point they fly to the window looking for a way out.

If the bee swarm has not yet moved in, lighting a fire can temporarily keep the bees away though it is not very effective. If there is a beehive in the flue of the chimney and you light a fire, this can cause honey to run down the chimney causing long-term problems. To get rid of the bees (if they have not moved in yet) it can be much wiser to consider a preventative treatment of wasp spay around the chimney top most pest sprays will work, note: if it is a windy day consider the direction of the wind as fall off spray can somtimes cause trouble. If they are only scout bees, after treating the area lightly, bee activity should dissipate within 30 minutes to an hour.

If the bees dont go away, it is very likely you have a beehive with thousands of bees inside the flue area or in the structural void of the chimney.
If you think the bees are new, having them removed as soon as possible is a good choice; bees can build honey & honeycomb fast.
Chimneys with open flues can be fairly easy for a bee guy to remove the bees; while wide chimney tops and chimneys with caps can be a more costly ordeal and bee proofing a chimney can prove a challenge. Perhaps the most important thing is to afterwards remove the honeybee scent if it is an established be hive; melted honey from fire can make that more difficult.

bees in chimney
Open air chimney removal
Established honeybee hive in chimney top

Open chimneys When a beehive is living near the chimney top, lighting a fire can cause lot of long term problems, it doesnt solve the problem, instead some of the bees tend to congregate atop the chimney for as long as the fire lasts and optionally start building on the outside. This nearly always makes the problem worse with melting honey down the sides of the chimney causing a more permanent honey saturation and smell which can attract bees for many years to come. If you have inherited a problem like this i can be challenge to resolve.

honeycomb in chimney
Structural chimney removal

Caped chimneys Wide chimney tops and chimneys with caps are more challenging. Chimney caps often do very little to keep bees from moving in. With wide chimneys the bees may not be in the flue. A chimney with a top creates a challenge with removing the honeycomb which if not accomplished causes long term problems. On Mother's Day a couple called for assistance. Upon noticing bees coming from their chimney they were instructed by a friend to light a fire. The bees had already moved into the chimney top. Upon lighting the fire, half the swarm fell down the chimney then entered into house. They ended up with a house full of bees and little dark soot spots on the walls & curtains. The good thing was it was not an established hive, so there was no long-term honey problems.

Most bee specialists have the training and experiance to remove beehives from capped or enclosed chimneys, though the quality of work varies. Bees in chimneys can be removed alive, though that depends on the bee remover and safety relating to chimney height.

Honeybees are year round critters, they dont go away in the winter. If you think you have an established beehive in the chimneytop and you have a cap or a wide chimney top, it will be very wise to talk to a bee specialist that has experience with that. You are welcome to call the US bee removal hotline to speak with a local bee specialist near you.

Wasps & hornets in chimney top

Wasps can be much less of a problem when in a chimney; on the other hand, a hornet nest grows fairly large toward autumn or winter season, and can block up the chimney flue. This would be more common in the mid & upper regions of the US and Canada. Yellow jackets though less common, can also nest in chimneys. If the chimney is uncapped, removing the nest may be the best solution. Wasp yellow jackets and hornets, are less of a problem with caped chimneys compared with honeybees due to honey that can cause long term recurring honeybee problems. Also because Wasps, hornets, and yellowjackets abandon the nest in winter, though often like to return to the same of nearby areas the following spring.

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Gary Oberle
Bees in chimney
Denver co

We just noticed this week honeybees (a dozen at a time) entering at a loose brick in a capped and closed off chimney. Have tried spray to discourage them but 3 days now and seems no difference. We cannot dismantle this chimney to gain access. Any ideas?

Beekeeper:  Hi Gary, It sounds like you have an established hive, and it most likely requires the help of a professional. We should be able to give you a couple of options to take care of the problem. Our guy in Denver can swing by and check it out, just visit our Denver Colorado bee removal page and give the number a call.

Bees in chimney
moorpark, california

I had a swarm of bees about a foot wide and two feet high on the back chimney wall. They dispersed but have made a home in the outside chimney wall by going through a four inch by four inch vent near the bottom of the chimney. Not sure but I think that little vent goes into the cavity between the firebox and outside wall. Should I spray bug spray near the vent or close it off? I am confused as to what to do next?

Beekeeper:  Scott, How long have the bees been there? It sounds like you'll probably have to open it up and get the hive and honeycomb removed. Usually a home will only get a hive once in several decades. Otherwise, if it is just a day or two old and you actually saw them swarm in, then you should be able to have them eradicated or extracted, then bee-proof the vent that leads into the chimney space and call it good.

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