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Old 06-04-2012, 11:05 AM   #1
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Blocking off chimney to keep bees out-thoughts?


For some strange reason, this spring, bees have been flying into one of our two chimneys more often (we live in California, near the central coast). In the past, we would have the occasional unwanted guest fly in, and he would be dealt with accordingly. We now have the flue closed, since we are using an electric fireplace insert, but you know how small the little critters are, and a couple occasionally get through one of the spaces where the edge of the flue. Since this has occurred twice in the last month, I wonder if they are getting by the ill-fitting chimney cap (I don't recall seeing any damage to the chimney that would permit bees to get in). I went up on the roof sprayed the bee-jeezus of the inside of the chimney, and some bees did fly out, but not in large numbers, so maybe I'm dealing with scouts. I later put up put aluminum screen mesh around the cap, and Gorilla Taped a couple of large heavy-duty garbage bags over the whole arrangement. I know the bags won't last indefinitely, and will be replacing those with some heavy polyethylene.

The above arrangement is very much a temporary fix, just to give me some peace of mind that we're not going to come home from a trip to find some new "tenants" and the concomitant problems that would come with having to have the problem dealt with professionally. I would like a more permanent solution that I can apply this fall when the weather cools and the bees are less active, and I'm more employed and there's more money for projects.

I'm considering one of those top-sealing chimney dampeners. However, I can't help feel that might be overkilll right now, especially since we don't use the fireplace in the usual way, with the electric insert inside. The flue and the chimney cap are to keep rain from coming inside and shorting out the insert (which is easily removed). Would I be better off (and have more money saved) by a better-fitting chimney cap, and a "chimney pillow" in place?

And are they favoring the one chimney because some of their buddies left pheromones inside? I haven't seen one bee near the other chimney (also unused, with better fitting cap, though the flue is stuck open).

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Old 06-04-2012, 05:10 PM   #2
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Blocking off chimney to keep bees out-thoughts?


I had a problem with birds nesting in my chimney, and since I'm using a ventless gas log set, I just placed a concrete "stepping stone" from Lowe's on top.

Glued it down with Liquid Nails "Heavy Duty" and that thing isn't moving anytime soon....

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Old 06-04-2012, 05:35 PM   #3
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Blocking off chimney to keep bees out-thoughts?


Before you do anything permanent to seal the cap, chimney, flue, etc., make sure that there is no nest already established. If so it must be successfully treated and inactive before you seal this off otherwise it could backfire and they may force themselves down and into the living areas.
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Old 06-04-2012, 05:41 PM   #4
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Blocking off chimney to keep bees out-thoughts?


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Originally Posted by PAbugman View Post
Before you do anything permanent to seal the cap, chimney, flue, etc., make sure that there is no nest already established. If so it must be successfully treated and inactive before you seal this off otherwise it could backfire and they may force themselves down and into the living areas.
Got a bee guy coming tomorrow. He said it sounds like maybe the bees were scouts. We'll see. I'll check in.
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Old 06-04-2012, 05:48 PM   #5
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Blocking off chimney to keep bees out-thoughts?


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Originally Posted by ktkelly View Post
I had a problem with birds nesting in my chimney, and since I'm using a ventless gas log set, I just placed a concrete "stepping stone" from Lowe's on top.

Glued it down with Liquid Nails "Heavy Duty" and that thing isn't moving anytime soon....
I'd like to consider this. Is the LN permanent, though? Eventually we'll be moving, and I know that Wife will give me world-class grief if I do something that would result in a problem selling the house, such as a permanently blocked chimney.
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Old 06-04-2012, 05:52 PM   #6
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Blocking off chimney to keep bees out-thoughts?


Permanent?


Can't say as I've not tried to take anything apart that I used LN on. I've also used it to glue down some sandstone wall caps and that seems to be pretty locked into place, so I'm thinking it could be pretty permanent.


Maybe use just enough to ensure it doesn't come off in a storm, but can still be pulled loose with some effort?
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Old 06-04-2012, 05:59 PM   #7
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Blocking off chimney to keep bees out-thoughts?


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Permanent?


Can't say as I've not tried to take anything apart that I used LN on. I've also used it to glue down some sandstone wall caps and that seems to be pretty locked into place, so I'm thinking it could be pretty permanent.


Maybe use just enough to ensure it doesn't come off in a storm, but can still be pulled loose with some effort?
I'll keep the idea near the top of the list after a little experimentation re: LN's permanence. I'll let you know if I go with it. Thanks!
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Old 06-04-2012, 09:16 PM   #8
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Blocking off chimney to keep bees out-thoughts?


There are other alternative to gluing a piece of stone to your chimney top. A cap with a screen for example.

I do agree you should make sure there isn't something in the chimney. Has it ever been swept?
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Old 06-04-2012, 10:00 PM   #9
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Blocking off chimney to keep bees out-thoughts?


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Originally Posted by sdsester View Post
There are other alternative to gluing a piece of stone to your chimney top. A cap with a screen for example.

I do agree you should make sure there isn't something in the chimney. Has it ever been swept?
It was swept a few years ago. We haven't had a fire in it after putting in the electric fireplace insert (not mounted, easily removable just by unplugging it and lifting it out). The flue has been closed since we purchased the fireplace insert 2 years ago and never had a problem to this extent. The occasional unwanted visitor, but not with the frequency and number of insects we've had recently.

Still not quite sure what "fix" I'll try. I'm hoping the bee guy finds nothing. I'll report back what happens and what I've decided to do.
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Old 06-05-2012, 08:03 PM   #10
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Blocking off chimney to keep bees out-thoughts?


Okay, as promised, here's what happened. The good news is the bee guy found nothing indicating bees were residing in the chimney. The bad news is that the chimney top is an odd-sized oval, which probably explains why it never had a chimney cap to begin with. After looking online for a cap, which was substantially more than the ones in Lowe's and talking to someone there who suggested it, we're going to use a sheet metal guy to make one for us. I'd rather pay someone more to do the job right and get it done faster than waiting for a cap to be delivered and then finding there's an issue with it. For the time being, a triple wrapping of heavy duty garbage bags, aluminum mesh, and all sealed with Gorilla Tape until the fall and before the rains, which was the reason for the cap anyway (to prevent rain from coming down the flue and shorting out the electric fireplace insert. Thanks all for your suggestions.

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