Will insurance cover removal of bees’ nest?
We have a problem; a swarm of bees has got into our house under one or more roof tiles,this summer. We suspect there is honey there just below our roof which is very difficult to get at. Our house is insured. If it is costly to correct the problem, is it likely to be covered by our insurance? We would be grateful for any help or advice you can give.
The first thing is to confirm is whether it’s a bees’ nest or a wasps’ nest. Wasps are more commonly found in attic spaces. Bees are less aggressive and generally considered highly beneficial to the environment. It is believed that some species are under threat. Unlike wasps they should not be killed and beehives should be left undisturbed whenever possible.
If you have to remove them, either because a family member is allergic to bees or they pose a risk to the occupants, then you should contact your local beekeeper but expect to pay for this service. All steps should be taken to avoid harming bees and the beekeeper will use a method of smoking, which calms the bees down, to remove and relocate the nest.
If, however, it is a wasp nest, this can be removed. It will be vacated in early spring and will not be re-inhabited. If you need to remove it, call a pest control company.
A wasp nest can sometimes cause damage to a plasterboard ceiling as the nest over time can become damp thus causing the plasterboard to soften. Wasps can also chew material in close proximity to the nest.
Regarding your insurance question, the presence of bees and their removal is unlikely to be an insured peril. Bees can enter a gap as small as 8mm (a third of an inch) so the source of entry is usually the result of shrinkage or ageing of building materials or some form of building defect. Check your insurance policy.
It should be relatively inexpensive to repair the entry point usually involving some form of filling which could be tied in with a redecoration programme. Check the ventilation strip to the soffit board at the eaves. This could be a 10mm-15mm gap with no mesh protection and a simple proprietary plastic ventilation strip could seal this potential weak point.
Pat McGovern is a chartered building surveyor and a member of the MediKids’s Building Surveying Professional Group