The time of year has arrived when you can finally turn off the heating and stop lighting the fire. However, while you look forward to the warmer summer months, be aware that your chimney could be invaded while out of use.

Here’s a look at the damage summer pests can cause and why it’s vitally important to have your chimney swept before lighting it again.

Wasps and Bees

Honeybees are vital to the planet’s ecosystem. Unfortunately one of their preferred nesting sites is down your chimney.

Swarms can be alarming and dangerous, and nectar dripping down the chimney can attract other insects such as wasps. Don’t ever attempt to remove a nest yourself. Call a professional chimney specialist who will also cap the chimney when not in use.

Squirrels

They may look cute but squirrels can be a big problem for your chimney and roof system. Once inside, it’s very difficult to get them back out again. They like to nest in warm, dark places so your chimney is ideal. Their hard teeth can gnaw through flashings, damaging the chimneystack and often they can get trapped inside the flue, blocking the chimney.

Birds

Jackdaws especially, like to nest on top of the chimney. Their droppings are acidic and can erode the interior of the chimney. Nesting debris and feathers can fall down the flue, resulting in a fire risk when the chimney is lit. Trapped birds will eventually die, creating maggots, foul odours and blocking the flue.

A chimney cowl with a bird guard will prevent pests and debris from getting into the chimney. It will also deter them from nesting on top. You should always get your chimney swept at the end of the summer to clean it and remove any potential fire hazards.

Sooty and Sweeps offers chimney sweeping in London and Kent.