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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Exeter, NH
    Posts
    18

    Default Bees chewing up small cell foundation?

    I received my first package of bees on April 14th (one week ago today). I started them in a 10 frame medium super with wired small cell wax foundation. They appeared to be getting a good start and have been hauling in lots of pollen. I went into the hive on Saturday (5 days after hiving) and removed the queen cage (she was released by the bees) and added more syrup to my top feeder. All appeared normal at that time, but when I went to check on them this afternoon, I noticed a large amount of chewed wax under the screen bottom board. I did a search and found in another forum that a member had posted about this happening to her where the bees basically just cut the foundation out of the frame (http://forum.beemaster.com/index.php?topic=8818.0).

    I was hoping not to disturb the bees for a while, but I really don't want to go back in two weeks and find a mess of burr comb that I'm going to have to cut out. If you look at the picture linked below, it shows the amount of chewed wax under the hive.



    Here's a picture of my hive setup: screened bottom board/hive stand combo, slatted rack, medium body, mann-lake top feeder, and telescoping outer cover.



    Any suggestions on what I should do? It's supposed to be in the mid 70's tomorrow, so if you think I should open the hive to check it out, it would be a good day to do it.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,121

    Default

    Bees often chew up foundation. I suppose the question is if there is still enough at the top to keep them in line. I'd take a peek and see what's up.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Murfreesboro, TN, USA
    Posts
    575

    Default

    Make sure you keep a good supply of syurp on them and hopefully it will all work out ok. I agree with Michael, in that I don't think it would hurt to take a peek and see whats up. Good luck...I hope all goes well.
    "My child, eat honey, for it is good." (Proverbs 24:13)

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Gainesville, FL
    Posts
    165

    Default

    It looks like a lot of the wax in your picture is still in the form of scales that the bees produce and then accidentally drop before they can chew it up to make comb out of; bright white fresh wax. They are probably just working hard to draw out the comb and are dropping some of what they are building with, not chewing up your foundation more than they should.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,121

    Default

    Is the feeder full all the time? They need nectar or syrup to draw comb.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Exeter, NH
    Posts
    18

    Default

    Yes. I'm keeping the feeder full and I added 2.5 gallons on Saturday with some Honey-B-Healthy mixed in.

    Based on the suggestions, I think I'll take a quick peek today just to make sure that they didn't cut out any pieces of foundation that might keep them from drawing parallel combs on the frames.

    I'll take some pictures and report back tonight. Thanks for the help!!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Exeter, NH
    Posts
    18

    Default Whew!

    My wife and I opened up the hive just after noon today, and fortunately everything looks ok to me, meaning there were no loose pieces of foundation in the hive.

    The bees had built a little burr comb on top of the top bars leading up into the feeder. When I looked at the feeder initially, I wondered if they might do that because there is more than 1 bee space between the top bars and the bottom of the plastic feeder tray. Here's a picture of that burr comb:



    Next, I removed the frames in positions 9 and 10. Just a couple bees on them and neither had been drawn out at all. I slid the remaining frames apart so that I could inspect them, and they all looked good. I did pull out one frame and got lucky that I picked the one with the queen on it. Thanks to my wife for the camera work!!





    I didn't keep the frame out too long or try to look for eggs, but the bees are definitely storing pollen and the sugar syrup in the comb that they have drawn.

    Thanks again for your suggestions, and if you see something abnormal that I should have noticed during my inspection please let me know!! This is quite a learning experience!!

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