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Abundance of Wax Extrusions in New Hive

Yesterday we notice a small pile of pristine translucent and whitish wax flakes that had dropped through the bottom board (and were underneath our hive) from the swarm we installed two days earlier. Taking a peek inside, it appears that the bees were drawing comb directly above this pile. What the heck?

Research led me to an article in Bee Culture, March 31, 2015 that stated "Wax is secreted primarily during warm weather when foraging is active. Workers actively engaged in secreting wax engorge themselves with honey and hang in festoons at or near the site of comb building. A Closer Look:Beeswax

That makes sense, as the bees were glutted from honey for their swarm, but why was so much of the new wax falling through the bottom board, rather than being caught up and molded into the honeycomb? Were they in such a hurry that they were being messy and careless?

Has anyone else experienced this phenomenon?


The flakes are quite beautiful when viewed through my stereoscope, but unfortunately I do not have the ability to photograph the enlarged image. They look like ice chips.

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Quite common with big swarms. They are wax-producing monsters, to the extent they can afford to waste some of the wax. Don’t worry about it, it is normal. :wink:

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Thanks Dawn. Bees never cease to amaze me.

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I see it a little bit differently. Even though the bees can afford to waste some wax flakes, it still accounts for a lot of gorging on honey, as well as many hours of festooning before the flakes appear. Therefore I see that as a waste of all that honey & effort. I wonder if the flakes fell onto a solid floor, if the bees would pick them up & use them.

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Hi @JeffH
I believe they would pick it up and use it. My observations when working my hives (with limited experience :sunglasses:), I have noticed the bees climbing all over small pieces of burr comb that I have cut out. When watching them, it seemed like they were trying to recover it. Unfortunately, I was busy working the hive and couldn’t just sit and watch to see the outcome.

Well, no chance of a solid floor comparison, all our hives are all vented from below.

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We thought they might too,; it’s only inches from the entrance but none of the bees are interested.

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I’m not a fan of vented floors. I like a solid floor, I think a vented floor works against the bees in their endeavors to air condition their hives. You’ll see that beautifully illustrated in the video on youtube “City of the Bees”. I believe it’s a great video for new beekeepers to learn from. It also shows, in detail how the bees produce the wax flakes (extrusions).

cheers

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