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Bees eating hive paint

Just wondering if bees appearing to be eating the white latex paint by the hive entrance is a problem. At first I was not sure what they where picking on but two days later they had it down to bare wood. This does not seem to be normal to me. Any ideas?

Rusty Burlew of honeybeesuite.com has commented on this. She painted an entrance reducer. The bees objected and stripped it down to bare wood! :smile:

So I would say it is normal behavior. As many plants contain latex, or substances similar to latex (including avocado), I don’t think it will hurt the bees.

I wouldn’t worry about it.

Thanks. They are chewing on the side of the entrance that they seem to be using exclusively to lave and enter.

How large is your entrance? Do you have a reducer in? They may be trying to enlarge the entrance instead of stripping the paint specifically.

I took out the reduced 4 weeks ago.

Hi, just wondering how you went with this, as my bees are doing the same. Have eaten the lacquer I put on down to the raw wood, and munching out the wood. Also at the side of their entrance. They seem to enter there allot as well. Did yours eventually stop? Don’t want them to keep eating, making a big whole!

I’m wondering the same thing! My bees are chewing away at the front entrance, right down to the raw wood? Any clues?

That is what bees do. That is why we should never paint the inside of hives, or entrance reducers. They will chew, chew, chew! :blush:

The bees will only chew away the soft grain & leave the hard grain, as in oregon timber or pine. They’ll only chew so much & then stop. Don’t be at all concerned about the little bit of paint they chew. It’s minuscule compared to the amount of bee traffic over a reasonable period of time. A lot of my boxes are painted inside with what I’d consider nil effect.

The only thing I suggest is to let the paint dry properly & wait for the fresh paint smell to pass before use.

I unfortunately don’t have a solution, my bees just seem to want to enter there, and are munching away still. They have eaten a reasonable portion now (as you can see on the right side of the photo)


That’s pretty serious chewing. I wonder why the bees aren’t content to use the entrance, which is more than adequate. To me, that is highly unusual to see that happen while the bees have a good sized entrance to use.

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Seems pretty odd to me too. Wonder if there’s something blocking the way just inside the rest of the entrance?

I don’t think so as they use the normal entrance also. I’m not really sure what to do, should I block it somehow so it doesn’t get worse? Or just let them go in there? My hive seems strong, and they produce allot of honey…

I bet that if you tried to do that, they would still chew whatever you used as a block, even if it was plastic. Metal might work - I have never seen them chew that, but it would be tougher to fabricate something appropriate. :blush:

Personally I would leave it for now, and think about a repair when your nectar flow is over. You could always put the hive on a spare bottom board while you dealt with the Flow bottom board.

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Thinking about it, you may be right, perhaps they are using the full entrance but just hanging out inside it, but using the side to go all the way up. Definitely more activity on that chewed side. I’ll open the hive up on the weekend and do a full inspection.
Thanks for the input everyone!


Just an update, I’ve finally done a full hive inspection. No answer though on why the bees are chewing so ferociously though unfortunately. No blockages at all, and the brood box is all in good shape. In fact the bottom board that drops through to the pest tray was spotless. I could see right through from inside all along the hive entrance. Queen laying well, good mix of honey and brood. When I put it all back together they just started munching again. The hole is getting bigger! :grimacing: My dad is an old school beekeeper who has had a hive for as long as I can remember, and after doing the inspection has suggested that if they want to do it, then it’s their home and let them just plug away, as if they create too big of a gap then they will block it up if it becomes a problem for them. Thoughts?

Also, how do you all lift the super off? We found it very difficult to lift with just a handle on one side. Held it by the roof on the other side but almost dropped it…


I like your dad’s view.

About lifting the super, you might try using an empty deep and putting some of the Flow frames in it to reduce the weight before lifting the rest off.

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I sometimes do what @Eva suggested. However, if any frames are full and capped, I harvest them before lifting the super off. That makes it over 3kg lighter per frame harvested. :blush:


Not been beekeeping for 4 years and learn something every year. The 2nd pic, with ur bee’s bearding. Maybe they were chewing for better air circulation. Mine have done this last couple years and usually after a rain. But as I’ve seen the wood chewed up as urs. My best guess is there making propolis. Know this post was while back but may help you or someone else looking.