Crazy noise from within
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Columbus, Mississippi
    Posts
    188

    Default Crazy noise from within

    I went to feed the bees yesterday and I heard a wired noise in one hive only. I thought it was the syrup running down within the hive but I pulled the jar out and it was still making the noise. So today I went out to feed again and the noise is still going on. It sounds like something is rubbing on the wood but to the effect that water is pouring down inside. Its only in one hive. My wife says its the bees smaking thier lips, Im not so sure. Any ideas??

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    GREENWOOD INDIANA USA
    Posts
    342

    Default Re: Crazy noise from within

    Mississippi,
    Check to be sure you don't have a tenant in your lower box like a mouse or a snake. That can sometimes be a problem in the Fall.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Claremont, NH, USA
    Posts
    783

    Default Re: Crazy noise from within

    The following is just a THEORY of mine. Take it for what it is worth.

    In brief, it might be the sound of bees 'cleaning' the inside walls of the hive. Why do I propose this?

    We often see bees doing an activity we call 'washboarding' around the entrances of hives. Lines of bees that look like they are wiping the hive body with their feet (others have described it as 'line dancing'). No one really knows why they do it, but it seems to occur most frequently, when there is not an active flow on, so there are lots of house bees that are not needed for offloading nectar and such chores. Bess don't 'like' to be idle, so many of them do this activity as 'filler'. Why do they do it?

    More theory.

    Bees tend to keep a clean home, some more than others. One of the big advantages of maintaining a clean home is less chance of disease. Examples of bee-cleaning include hygienic behavior, removal of dead bees and brood, and, maybe, washboarding. What would be the value of washboarding?

    More theory.

    Bees use propolis to plug up cracks and gaps that are too small for them to use as passages. Propolis has antibacterial properties and also helps 'smooth things out' inside the hive. Perhaps 'washboarding' is a way to help smooth the wood surfaces inside the hive to reduce the number of nooks and crannies where things, like bacteria, spores and possibly even parasites, can hide. It would be on a very small scale, but if thousands of bees did it, whenever they had some down time, then the effect would be cumulative. By way of analogy, my house was built in 1770, and the stairs from the kitchen to the second floor have wear marks almost an inch deep where thousands or millions of feet have stepped on the wood in the same places over the past 239 years. Those spots are almost shiny smooth (most we had to repair for safety reasons, but we left the top step exposed for historical purposes). I suspect that, over time, thousands of tiny bee feet rubbing back and forth smooth out the wood (or at least remove surface particles) in much the same manner. How does that have anyting to do with 'strange sounds'?

    More theory.

    I have several polystyrene nucs. Sometimes, when I am checking them out, I hear something that sounds like the bees are chewing on the nuc from the inside out. But, none of my nucs show any signs of damage. When I open them, I often find lots of bees on the inside walls (I sometimes see the same thing in the main hives). What are they doing there?

    More theory.

    I think they are 'washboarding' the inside of the nuc, which has a surface kind of like the inside of a styrofoam cooler. The nuc acts like a sounding board and amplifies the sound of all those feet (and maybe tongues, too), rubbing back and forth on the walls of the nuc. Why only some nucs and hives?

    More theory.

    Bees exhibit varying degees of cleanliness. Some hives washboard, some don't.

    So, that's my theory. To recap, washboarding is a form of hive maintenance/cleaning. It is done on all rough inner surfaces of the hive and around the entrance to smooth the surface and reduce the number of places where pathogens and parasites can reside. It is done when bees have 'free' time. It is done to varying degrees because bees exhibit varying degrees of all types of cleanliness, including hygienic behavior. When 'washboarding' is done on the inner surfaces of the hive or nuc, there can be an amplification effect that makes it sound like chewing, and possibly water flowing or other sounds subject to the unique interpretation skills of the human listener.

    There ya go. Have fun shooting holes in it.

    Bill
    “If you want to gather honey, don't kick over the beehive.” - Dale Carnegie

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Columbus, Mississippi
    Posts
    188

    Default Re: Crazy noise from within

    Wow what an explanation ! I was just in the hive the other day and there was no evidence of a mouse or anything, now I guess that dont mean the very next day one did not take up residence but its still Hot here. But the sounds is to rhythmic for a creature such as a mouse and it goes on non stop. However I just got back from feeding and the noise is not there. I did notice a whole bunch of wash boarding going on in the front entrance, more than usual. Maybe the sound inside is just that, cleaning bees. And Bnatural, I bet your house is awesome!! I love old houses and recently was outbid on a house that was built in 1910, it was gorgeous and I am still mad about it!! Oh well Thanks for the replies. I actually feel bad for not writing more after the post you just did.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Fallsburg, KY
    Posts
    302

    Default Re: Crazy noise from within

    Great thread, good explination bnatural, I have several hives doing this on the landing boards and fronts , looks excatly like you explained....
    Mike , Proverbs 24:13-14 Eat honey, my son, for it is good; honey from the comb is sweet to your taste.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Chesterfield, VA
    Posts
    94

    Thumbs Up Re: Crazy noise from within

    Bnatural........ Nice job!
    Big T

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