It might seem an odd combination, saving insects as a pest control business, but that’s exactly what this North East business, led by owner Sean Mooney, is doing.

After setting up Kill Line as a sideline a few years ago, Sean decided to take the plunge and turn it into a full-time business. But he soon realised that through a lack of understanding, some of nature’s most valuable insects were at risk and this could have devastating consequences in the long term.

Sean said: “Bees are nature’s good guys – we genuinely need them. We have invested heavily in bespoke training and skill sets to enable us to move bees safely both for them and the people in close proximity, but also offer an end-to-end service which includes specially trained builders, scaffolders and other related trades.”

Sean and his team put this into practice at a recent job in Stockton where an enormous hive had taken up residence in a chimney breast. His trained operators knew exactly where to open up the chimney so as not to expose and chill the brood (which could prove fatal) and removed the entire hive safely to Sean’s quarantine apiary near Crathorne. Once the bees had been removed, the team repaired the chimney.

Sean continues: “It’s not a legal requirement to move bees, but left unchecked they can cause some issues such as honey pouring through the walls! The safe removal of them from hard-to-reach places like this is not something a bee keeper can do, it’s very niche and many companies won’t attempt it – if they do, it’s likely that the bees will die unnecessarily.”

Sean relocates the bees he rescues to a registered quarantine apiary where they are visited and tended to daily. It often takes many months for them to recover and be free from disease, but Sean’s focus is on their welfare, opting to care for them as pollinators rather than try to produce honey for commercial gain.

The company is supportive of lobbyists campaigning for chemical manufacturers and distributors to change their approach to killing bees and there have been some recent changes in poison labels which has made it harder for people to do so – a positive move.

Saving these bees is a passion project and the other side of the company’s work, pest control is busy, too. The company plans to take on another member of staff and is focusing on commercial and industrial contracts where it is able to offer a high quality and reliable service at a more competitive price than many national firms.

Sean’s advice to anyone who sees a swarm: “Always contact a bee keeper if you see a swarm. These bees aren’t a risk and they do move themselves on but left to their own devices they can end up in places you don’t want them – like in your brickwork. A bee keeper will gather them up safely and take them to an appropriate hive, protecting them from risk.”

For more information on Kill Line, see https://www.killline.co.uk/.