I have several new (1-2 yr old) brood chambers where the bees chewed at the lower edge (at the entrance). Not sure if it is due to the softness of the wood (a soft pine) or due to shallow entrances (shy of 1/2" - migratory depth). A 3/8" upper entrance across the top of the brood chambers was provided during the height of the season for ventilation (by shifting supers back).
Incidentally these hive bodies were stained, rather than painted, and I wonder if this might have contributed. However, new hive bodies from another mfr. (possibly with denser wood) were not chewed despite the same preservative treatment.
Anyway, has anyone else observed this problem? TIA
[This message has been edited by JWG (edited November 21, 2004).]
Was the evidence of chewing actual observation of chewing or that it looked like it had been chewed?
I've seen bees chew anything soft enough, to make things in the hive bigger when they want. I put a piece of regular styrofoam inside one of those Betterbee foam nucs to convert it to a medium. The bees chewed the soft styrofoam I put in (not the hive which is more dense) and tore it all up.
When the bees were bearding in the spring and summer you could see them (and hear them, a ticking sound) gnawing. They took the very edge off the front bottom of the super, right at the entrance. Several colonies did this. I have used 3/8" entrances before, all season long, in the past, but this is the first time I ever saw this type of damage. The hives were 4 and 5 deeps tall, plenty of room.
Now if I could just get them to chew the mites instead...
From your description I would have thought of a mouse or skunk doing the damage. Not the bees unless you are keeping carpenter bees who chew holes in wood and are very distructive. I would put on metal mouse gards before the openings are large enough to invite mr. or mrs. mouse in to set up housekeeping
just South of Lansing Michigan
Beekeeping sence 1964
I had a colony chew themselves an upper entrance by enlarging the seam between two supers until bees could pass through.
I saw a number of places where the bees chewed in corners and seams. Don't know why they do it.
Maybe it's seperation anxiety. Are you spending enough time with them?