‘There are bees in the chimney (what am I gonna do?)’
Apologies for my poor rendition of UB40’s ‘Rat In My Kitchen’ but you have probably guessed from the catchy title — we do, in fact, have bees in the chimney!!
It began last spring when a bee swarm landed on the side of our home and decided to stay.
We had a chat with some bee keepers — and our local pest control man (who also keeps bees) —and were advised that they’d go at the end of summer.
Which they did.
But despite being told that they wouldn’t return, in April this year they came back.
Bees in the Chimney
Two summers, with the bees in the chimney, has been exasperating at times. They often find their way into the house — and they poo everywhere (!) — but apart from that, they’ve not been too much of a nuisance.
I’ve sustained a couple of stings (from bees that have been hiding in a pile of washing or on a towel; and I’ve not noticed them until it’s too late) but apart from that they pretty much keep themselves to themselves.
So I wasn’t too worried about our winged tenants; until I had a chat with my neighbour’s father — a budding apiarist — who said that our chimney would be absolutely FULL of wax and honey.
Apparently one bee colony can produce 60 to 100 pounds of honey per year.
So for two years, our busy bees have been filling our chimney stack with liquid gold. No idea how much is in there but you can bet that it’s probably quite a lot.
Rehoming the Bees
In July, our bee colony split and swarmed. Apparently this happens when a new queen is born) and thousands of them left the safety of our chimney to find a new home.
They took up residence in our garden; until our neighbour’s father — who’d been ringing round just that week, looking for bees to buy — came to collect them to put in next door’s hive.
It was absolutely fascinating to watch.
Watching Eric collect the swarm was really exciting. He was so brave, scaling such a precarious ladder. I wish that removing bees from the chimney stack was as painless and simple though!
So what next?
Half of our colony are now in a lovely oak hive next door; whilst the others are still in our house.
Whilst we’re having the building work done, it will be a good opportunity to get up on the roof; and see if we can remove the rest of the bees and their nest. Hopefully in such a way that won’t harm them.
Because, until we remove them (and their wax and honey) we can’t light a fire.
Our chimney is basically one gigantic beeswax candle.
If you’ve ever experienced anything like this, please let me know! I’d love to hear from you!