The photo was taken with our drone during a honeybee survey. The customer noticed the swarm flying about some weeks ago but took no notice of it, until lots of bees started to come down their fireplace, walking all over the carpets, floors, sofas, and windows. The customer became too scared to use the living room so closed it off as there were so many bees in there and trying to get rid of them was difficult.

The owner of the property looked on Google for beekeepers to come and get them, but beekeepers won’t touch any honeybees in buildings as they are not insured to take on the work. Plus not all beekeepers have the required experience to remove them from buildings. It is a specialist task, so who can do it? Well, BEEKIND Pest Control is kind to bees, we are passionate about saving bees and rehoming the colonies we remove from buildings. Sometimes, depending on the extraction location we give the bees away to beekeepers, sometimes we relocate them to our Apiary. We are insured to remove honeybees from residential, commercial, and grade-listed buildings. We are even insured to carry out minor repairs. We are trusted experts in live bee nest removal and rehoming!

Within 3 weeks of the swarm moving into the chimney, they had built 6 x 1m deep combs full of nectar, honey, pollen, and brood. They were fast building a colony that would eventually hold up to 50,000 bees! The customer was keen for us to get to work and remove them straight away. Once we had some scaffolding quotes we were able to get the job started. Luckily on this occasion, we didn’t need to remove any bricks or any sections of the chimney stack. We removed all 6 large pieces of comb, placed them into our temporary hive box, and took them to a beekeeper to take care of. We then returned to clean the chimney and get the customer to get the fire on where the fireplace was. The smoke soon came up and out and prevented robber bees and other insects from trying to get into the chimney. Every honeybee colony uses propolis to help build the colony, it acts like cement holding the comb to surfaces and supporting the weight of the honey and brood. Propolis and honey have a strong smell that other bees can detect, including wasps. With no guard bees protecting the chimney as they had been removed and relocated, the scent can attract honeybees from other colonies from miles away. They are looking for an easy way to get honey. It takes one honeybee its whole life, around 30 days, to make 1/2 a teaspoon of honey. Flying several hundred miles, visiting thousands of flowers just for a small amount of honey. Multiply that by 50,000 bees and the honey soon builds up. Honeybees can make around 30-50kg of honey a year, with some colonies we have removed having around 100kg plus of honey and comb. So, if a honeybee can steal it from another colony, it makes their job easier and also helps their colony quicker. Pollen is used to feed to queen and brood during the warm seasons and the honey is kept for the winter stores to keep the colony alive during some of the cold winter months. The worker bees feed the queen as she can’t feed herself.

Once the fire was lit, we recommended that the customer was to leave the fire on for a few days. We then carried out a deep clean of the living room, removing all the bees and wiping down surfaces that they left their droppings on. The customer was relieved they were now gone, but will keep an eye out every year for swarms around April – June time, and if any are seen to put the fireplace on immediately. The smoke will discourage scout bees from using the chimney so they can’t move in and cause the same issue to happen again. We can’t put honeybee-proof cowlings on active fireplaces as the smoke would struggle to vent out and chimney sweepers wouldn’t be able to clean the chimney.

So if you have bees living in your active or redundant chimney and need them removed, then just get in touch and we can start looking into the costs of removals once a honeybee survey has been carried out.