Will bees chew through wood?
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  1. #1
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    Jan 2017
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    Default Will bees chew through wood?

    I checked my hives a week ago. One hive had a situation where I must not have perfectly aligned the bottom two deeps. They weren't off that far, but the bees were coming out of the gap on the face of the hive. It almost looked like they chewed the edge of the box to open it up more. Will they chew wood hive bodies?

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
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    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
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    Default Re: Will bees chew through wood?

    Yes they can gnaw away at wood where there are gaps. Where there seems to have been major progress on a hole it is sometimes the work of a mouse.
    "Every viewpoint, is a view from a point." - Solomon Parker

  4. #3
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    Aug 2011
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    KC, MO, USA
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    Default Re: Will bees chew through wood?

    Although others have seen it, I have not seen any sign that bees chew wood.

    For me it's always been a mouse.

  5. #4
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    jackson county, alabama, usa
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    Default Re: Will bees chew through wood?

    i have seen them chew an opening at a gap after the wood was starting to dry rot a little bit there.
    'no wise man has the power to reason away what a fool believes' - the doobies

  6. #5
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    Dec 2017
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    Dane County, WI, USA
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    Default Re: Will bees chew through wood?

    Quote Originally Posted by cybball View Post
    I checked my hives a week ago. One hive had a situation where I must not have perfectly aligned the bottom two deeps. They weren't off that far, but the bees were coming out of the gap on the face of the hive. It almost looked like they chewed the edge of the box to open it up more. Will they chew wood hive bodies?
    Last summer they chewed through a particle board (very compatible to wood in hardness).
    There was a crack large enough where they decided to widen it and made an extra entrance out of a nuc hive.
    They shaved away the entire thickness of standard particle board (whatever that is ~ 1/4")
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
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    Rensselaer County, NY, USA
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    Default Re: Will bees chew through wood?

    Yes, I see it from time to time, where they have enlarged a modest crack enough for them squeeze through. Though it's odd that they would do so during the winter in IA. Usually I see it when there is huge flow on and I have misaligned the supers enough that they think another entrance might be useful at that point.

    I also see it around entrances that are too small, for instance at the point where a downward-facing notch on the inner cover meets the edge of the box below, they will round off the box edges to make coming and going through the notch easier. Whether they set out to gnaw it down or it's simply wear from thousands and thousands of feet, is unclear.

    Any actual mouse-made hole would likely be bigger. I can't recall seeing anything bigger than a bee-sized enlargement.

    Nancy

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
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    Chicago, ILL. USA
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    Default Re: Will bees chew through wood?

    Quote Originally Posted by squarepeg View Post
    i have seen them chew an opening at a gap after the wood was starting to dry rot a little bit there.
    That's what I noticed in my hives too.

  9. #8
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    Aug 2002
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    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    53,922

    Default Re: Will bees chew through wood?

    A.I. Root did experiments to prove that even starving bees could not chew through the skin of grapes. Yet I have seen places that it appears the bees have enlarged a hole in a hive. Maybe it was mice? I don't know, but mice chew marks look different.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
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    West Bath, Maine, United States
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    Default Re: Will bees chew through wood?

    LOL
    Now that would be a mite biter.
    It is not true that you cannot teach an old dog new tricks.
    They can learn them, they just can't do them.

  11. #10
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    jackson county, alabama, usa
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    Default Re: Will bees chew through wood?

    also have seen the entrance reducer openings 'modified' by the bees as enjambres describes.
    'no wise man has the power to reason away what a fool believes' - the doobies

  12. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
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    Rutland County, Vermont,USA
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    Default Re: Will bees chew through wood?

    No doubt about it. Mine chew around the notch on the inner cover and in the gap between my robber screens and the vertical edge of the bottom board. J

  13. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
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    England, UK
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    Default Re: Will bees chew through wood?

    Chew wood ? They'll chew anything that they can get their mandibles around, if it offends them ...

    These pics are from an experiment I conducted some years ago, which was intended to determine whether bees 'approve' of the KTBH's angled sides, or whether it was simply a case of them having zero choice in the matter. What I did was fit a straight-sided hive with angled pieces of wood added adjacent to the combs being tested (to simulate a KTBH at that location). To hopefully prevent the bees from attaching their combs to that angled wood, I attached some strips of medium hard plastic (cut from milk jugs - which were much thicker then, than they are today) which I'd hoped would act as a non-stick surface.

    What I discovered was that the bees hated the presence of those angled pieces, in that they tried to destroy them - interestingly, at exactly the same place in these two examples (which I don't think is a coincidence):





    As you can see, they chewed both the wood AND the edge of the plastic ...
    LJ
    A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/

  14. #13
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    Jul 2013
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    manhattan beach, CA, USA
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    14

    Default Re: Will bees chew through wood?

    Quote Originally Posted by cybball View Post
    I checked my hives a week ago. One hive had a situation where I must not have perfectly aligned the bottom two deeps. They weren't off that far, but the bees were coming out of the gap on the face of the hive. It almost looked like they chewed the edge of the box to open it up more. Will they chew wood hive bodies?
    Yes, my ferals in Los Angeles often re-model their opening area around the entrance, rounding off the sharp angle of the box edge. Sometimes they keep going to the point they have made a arch of the entrance. They will also make secondary entrances between boxes at times, usually where there is a small void already

  15. #14
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
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    woodland, wa usa
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    60

    Default Re: Will bees chew through wood?

    I've had some serious chewing of the wood along the bottom edge of the first body above a hive entrance. Enough so that it leaves a 1/16" - 1/8" gap when body position is reversed with another body.

  16. #15
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    wilmington,nc
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    49

    Default

    I have quite a few colonies that chew wood. They will round off entrance reducers and chew the top of the box at the top vent openings. I also have a few that decided they wanted a back entrance between the upper and lower boxes. I will fix that when I split them this spring.

  17. #16
    Join Date
    Jan 2017
    Location
    Central Iowa
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    33

    Default Re: Will bees chew through wood?

    Sounds like my bees. I'll adjust the boxes in spring to close that gap. Just hadn't seen that before.

  18. #17
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Location
    York, York County, SC
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    291

    Default Re: Will bees chew through wood?

    Its a sign of a hive that is strong AND does not like your arrangement. I have a three in the backyard alone that have chewed the entrance reducer in the corners to a nice soft radius. Over at the other end they push the entrance reducer out and modify the opening to ensure they have a nice exit. Its not a mouse, I put a game camera on it last year to prove that to myself. As well, the fact that they can push the wood entrance reducer out is absolutely astonishing.

  19. #18
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
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    Colorado Springs, CO United States
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    1,406

    Default Re: Will bees chew through wood?

    Quote Originally Posted by Fivej View Post
    No doubt about it. Mine chew around the notch on the inner cover...
    Visual evidence These bees were also working on the frames
    IMG_2835.jpgIMG_2836.jpg
    Please excuse me, I am now free to go manage & treat ;)
    my ladies the best way I know how.

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