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Fireplace altered and new Charnwood stove and flue liner fitted near Uppingham, oh and bees in the chimney

Fireplace to be altered and a new multifuel stove and chimney liner fitted

This old Victorian fireplace had an open gas fire fitted some years ago with a stainless steel chimney liner. It was boarded over because the client had regular problems with bees coming into the room and it was assumed they just came down the liner. But when the fireplace was uncovered rather more bees were found than was anticipated.

Fireplace altered ready for installation of new efficient Charnwood stove

The fireplace has been altered, the builder removed part of the wall of the house and created an external fireplace aperture. This allowed the the old Victorian cast iron fireplace to be incorporated into the design and give enough depth to fit the new Charnwood stove.

Chimney liner surveyed with chimney camera before new stove installation

The existing chimney liner was of suitable specification with all of the installation information available and so it was intended that we use this lining with the new multifuel stove. A camera survey was carried out to check that it was not damaged and see if there was a bees nest in it. It was in good condition with no bees nest found and so we moved on to pressure smoke test it to check it's integrity.

Pressure smoke test on chimney carried out by Fotheringhay Woodburners

The top of the chimney was accessed using a cherry picker to carry out the pressure smoke test on the lining as it is safer than using ladders and cannot damage the slate roof. Considering the chimney was lined relatively recently the flaunching looked to be in poor repair with the cowl mortared into it.

Bees in chimney around flexible liner being tested by Fotheringhay Woodburners

There were bees going into the chimney as we approached in the cherry picker and there was definitely a nest in there. As it was not inside the liner it must be between the liner and the masonry. On zooming the camera in they could be seen going in through holes in the badly flaunched chimney.

Apiarist preparing to remove bees in chimney before flexible flue liner installation

No it's not Tommy Cooper, it's a client of ours who is an apiarist. We've had a scaffold erected and he's brought a bait hive to install on the scaffolding so that we can remove and re-home the bees.

Bees in chimney being removed and re-homed during installation of chimney liner

Here goes! We've popped on the bee suits and are beginning the removal process. The first thing to do is see where the bees are going into the chimney and block up any other holes before setting up the bait hive which we'll leave until all the bees have gone into it.

Bees living in chimney with flexible flue liner re-homed during stove installation

Oh dear, the bait hive won't be possible and we have had to open up the top of the chimney by removing the cowl and defective flaunching. We can now see into the void between the lining and the masonry.

Honey bees taken out of chimney ready for installation of new liner

Ah that will be quite a lot of honeycombs then. This looks like it should be a large colony but although the bees are flying around us they're not stinging. According to Richard the bee keeper this would indicate that the colony is not very strong.

Bees being removed from around chimney liner during woodburner installation.

We have started to remove the combs in the chimney, this one is quite impressive but some of the combs are nearly two metres long. It will be necessary to take the flue liner out to completely remove all the honeycombs.

Chimney liner and bees nest removed during stove installation by

The old chimney liner has been removed as have most of the honeycombs. They have all been put into frames and inserted into the hive we have on the scaffolding. The bees are now flying out of the chimney to the hive and exhibiting behaviour that attracts the other bees indicating we might have removed the queen.

Old chimney liner removed ready for new stove installation

The bees were all gone when we left yesterday and we sealed the chimney overnight but after a call from our client the next day we found rather too many bees on some honeycomb that had dropped down the chimney. Oh dear, we'll have to come back and get these out now. When we came back the next day they had all left.

New stainless steel flue liner fitted during stove installation

The new chimney liner is now fitted. So that we can stop the bees going back into the chimney we have filled the void between the liner and the masonry with vermiculite granules.

Chimney lining insulated during new woodburning stove installation

In order to reduce the risk of bees entering even further we have used a fireproof fibreglass pad on top of the chimney below the chimney pot. This will be covered over with a steel top plate before the chimney pot is fitted.

Chimney pot and cowl installed with new flaunching as part of stove installation

The chimney is now finished with a new chimney pot and flaunching. A stainless steel birdguard cowl painted black to reduce the visual impact has been fitted to reduce water ingress and prevent birds getting in.

New efficient Charnwood Country 4 multifuel stove installed

The new efficient Charnwood Country 4 multifuel stove is now fitted and is being commissioned as part of the Fotheringhay Woodburners handover process.