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Bees are chewing holes in the flow frames!

Bees are chewing holes in the flow frames!
While having a look in the inspection window today I noticed that the bees are
Chewing the flow frames. The super has been on for a week now.
I rolled some bees wax on them before adding the frames.
The bees have filled in all the gaps & have started bringing in nectar.
But in the last few days they have been chewing the frame ends,
Some as much as 5mm have been chewed off!
Is this happening to anyone else?

Yikes!! Better give them a bill for that damage. But seriously, not that I’m any sort of expert quite yet, I recall being told in my class that bees will start chewing comb when there’s a dearth. Could that be the case for you there in QLD?

Bees are incapable of piercing grape skins. I think it’s pretty doubtful they have chewed through strong plastic.

That’s what I thought Michael but the frames where definitely not like that when I put them in the hive! & I have not seen any pests or anything else in there
So what could it be? I have been watching them chewing at the area & then check back hours later to see the plastic been chewed back a little more.
Maybe the bees here in Australia have been watching the crocodiles!

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It could be that the plastic was VERY thin there and they removed that thin piece. I have had the same material as the Flow frames on PermaComb frames that I have been using for a decade and a half and no bee has ever chewed it. Mice have done some damage on occasion, but it’s obviously mice…

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It could not be mice because they couldn’t get past the queen excluder
I just had a look through a photo I took through the same window a few days after I installed the super & the frames are all intact! & the plastic all looks the same thickness, & the ends they are chewing at is thick & when I look back after a few hours it has been chewed back a little more.
I will do a full inspection on the weekend & see what all the other frames look like & report back.
It’s got me stuffed what’s going on but I hope they stop it before I don’t have any frames left!

No, your picture is definitely not mice. I’m just saying they are the only chewing evidence I’ve seen on such a material in a bee colony. You don’t need to worry.

when you take out the corflute tray, do you see any chewed up bits of plastic? I doubt that bees could chew up plastic but I would doubt it even more if they digested it!
My first thought was that you got a flawed flow frame from Flow Hive. Are the other frames like that or is it all on the one side?
Nevertheless, maybe there isnt an issue once the nectar flow is on and they start filling up the cells with nectar? They will naturally line each cell with beeswax for the nectar. I have harvested mine twice and after each time, the bees repair the beeswax ready for the next nectar flow.

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While I don’t dispute this at all, I have seen bees chew wood (and solid-looking wood, not rotting stuff). Is wood softer than grape skins and plastic? Any bio-engineers out there?? :blush:

Back in the late 1800s they put bees in a position where they could starve or chew through the skins of grapes. The bees starved. If they put a hole in the grapes at all, then the bees would suck the juice out of them. It seems pretty definitive, but I agree it seems to be a contradiction because I have seen bees chew away punky or reasonably soft wood. I’ve seen them devastate styrofoam. But the Flow frames are the same material as PermaComb which I have been using for a decade and a half, and Honey Super Cell, which I’ve been using almost a decade and I have never seen the bees chew them at all. I have 1,000 permacomb that were in use and a couple of hundred Honey Super Cell that I’ve used and two pallet loads of used Honey Super Cell that I recently bought. None show any signs of chewing by the bees. My guess is that maybe the plastic was exceptionally thin at the points where the bees chewed it and that they will repair it when they start using the cells.

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There is crack damage to this frame as if it has been dropped when cold. My hubby does creack growth and that is exactly what it looks like

Impossible! Because the frame was fine when it was put in & now it looks like that & they have not been taken out since I put the super on at all!
I will try setting up a time laps up to catch them in the act

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Once your bees get onto a decent honey flow, they’ll seal all the cracks with wax & fill the frames with honey. Once that happens, I don’t believe you’ll have any more problems with bees chewing the plastic. Thank goodness it’s food grade plastic:)

This is interesting because I have queried the cell wall thickness of the latest Flow frames in another thread as the originals are nearly 2x the thickness and was curious about its rigidity and durability.

That plastic looks a different colour to mine?

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Different than mine as well.

Hi Michael,
I am Sarah from Flow Customer Support. We have contacted you via email so that we can ascertain more information on this and assist you in resolving this issue.
We look forward to hearing back from you soon.


Mine frame is more yellow plastic also. It could just be the lighting of the photo though. but wanted to check. That’s the first thing i thought of when i saw the photos. I wondered if you got the flow hive from honey flow. com. I know china has stolen the designs and made a cheaper and crappier version of the real flow hive. Did you buy this from honey flow.com?

Yes they are definitely flow frames!
I bought a full flow hive from when they where first getting started with the crowed funding.

I don’t have hole in my cells but the bees had filed the ‘comb’ to a point I was considering harvesting some- first time with the Flo. Today I found the bees are clearing those cells out! Any ideas why? Would they do they with a regular wax comb?

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