Bees chewing hive

Hi everyone

I noticed my bees are chewing the hive (see pic / video). It looks like it’s creating a gap…is there anything should I be doing to fix this? Does anyone know what could be causing them to behave this way?

Thanks
Liyi

Bees frequently chew out wood, especially soft wood. Maybe they think they can create another entrance. Is the front entrance adequate? Even if it is, they’ll still chew out an opening if there is a slither of light shining through. A solution would be to put a nice bead of black silicone over the gap on the outside, which will block the light shining through.

In the majority of cases, they fill gaps with propolis. This is an exception to the rule.

Thanks Jeff! This is the side where your normally harvest (opposite the entry)…I have been monitoring and it looks like they’re chewing it bigger…I was surprised too that they’re not plugging it up. Will try to find some black silicone to fill it

You’re welcome Liyi, I have some bee boxes where the bees have chewed significant chunks out between the frame rests & the top edge, creating gaps that bees can nearly fit through.

Oh wow, it looks like my box is heading that way. Can I leave it as is? What would happen if I didn’t do anything? Extra ventilation?

No I advise against extra ventilation. I think the best thing would be to block the light so that the bees can’t see any point in chewing any further. From my experience, they only chew into things when there is a slither of light. In the case of my boxes, they chewed from the QE down to the frame rest.

I was given a couple of fake flow brood boxes. The bees had taken great delight in chewing those down, which I repaired before painting them.

Have you harvested and had honey trickling out of the opening afterwards? My thought is that this could have dribbled under the metal strip, actually I just looked back and you dont have a metal strip under the Flow Frames they are resting directly on the queen excluder, I think this might be a factor.

Bees could also be trying to remove wet timber, if water has been pooling on top and slowly soaking in.

Thanks, I must admit I haven’t had a chance to check the brood box for a few weeks now partly due to weather. It has been raining a bit in Sydney.

I have bought the black silicone…but just occured to me I’m not quite sure how to patch things up with the bees inside?

The metal strip I am referring to looks like this.

Screenshot 2024-02-16 at 10.03.29 am

The bees will try to get rid of it, they will also be pretty likely to get all sticky in the process.

Silicone will be quite strong in fumes too, what you might want to try, is as follows.

Remove the top box and then put a small bead of silicone on the timber that are chewing at. Making sure it is smoothed out so it dries quickly. Try and keep the bees away, maybe cover it with some cling wrap. During an inspection it should be exposed enough to dry, then wait to see if the bees remove it between now and your next inspection or if they leave it alone, then you can repeat the process to build it up layer by layer, If you did want to do it all in one go, I would build a bit of a housing out of cardboard. That can slide in on the inside of the panel and the outside with the edges also blocked off, this way bees would have to crawl up and over the cardboard to even get to the silicone and the fumes would also be funnelled up away from the bees.

If you would like to replace the panel though email info@honeyflow.com and under the circumstances we could make the part available to purchase.

My idea of the black silicone was to apply a bead of it on the outside, which was meant to stop light shining through the crack, which should stop the bees chewing the wood. Not much fumes would enter the hive with silicone applied to the outside. They would no doubt stay away from that area for a little while until the fumes disappear. I’ve used a lot of silicone to temporarily patch holes with no effect on the bees. Anyway it looks like you need to fit that metal bar, then see how it looks.

Just a side note: silicone is good to use around a trap-out. It deters the bees from trying to go back into the original hive.

Thanks Jeff & Kieran for both your advice…I’ll try to block the light to stop further chewing and see how I go…but potentially feels like I may need to replace the front slab…which feels like a job on its own! At least there are some options!

They are funny creatures…learning every day!

You’re welcome Liyi. I originally thought of black duct tape, or insulation tape, but wondered how long it would stick on. To stop the fumes, you could place in a small piece of cardboard, then put the silicone over that. Once the light is blocked, the bees should stop chewing, then move on to more important jobs. I doubt if you’ll need to replace the slab, based on the gaps in some of my hives.

I agree with Kieran. It’s missing the metal strip - which the flow frames ‘rest’ on. There would not be chewing if that were in place