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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
While splitting a hive this spring, I noticed something I hadn't seen before. The hive overwintered in 2 deeps. I split the boxes and didn't check the bottom deep to well. Came back to the bottom deep a few days later, and did a full inspection. Wasn't much to see. The bees had mostly drifted to the queen right hive, and there wasn't much brood in the bottom box. I added a frame of eggs / brood / stores from the queen right hive, and added some sugar. They seem OK for the moment. I noticed in the bottom box, that 2 or 3 frames had had their comb chewed down in the middle. Maybe about a softball sized area. There is quite a pile of wax on the floor of the hive, and the comb was down to being just a few mm tall. I looked around for signs of wax moth or something but didn't find anything. Does anyone know what this is a sign of?
 

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They can really make a mess of your comb. Didn't get all of my mouse guards on last fall and suffered for it this spring. As long as the mice are using the hive while the bees are clustered in the winter they (the mice) are safe. If the mice decide to overstay their welcome after warm weather arrives and the bees become active, then the bees will "demonstrate their displeasure" with the unwelcome guest. I have some photos that show the consequences, but decided not to post them. They're not pretty!
I hereby pledge I will have no missed mouse guards this fall.
Arvin
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Hmmm.. I'll have to take a closer look.. I didn't think it would be a mouse because the comb wasn't chewed through all the way... I didn't notice droppings, but may not have looked too close... No mouse guard was installed though, and the grass was tall around the hive over winter... Also, it seemed like the chewed section was in the middle of the hive, not on an edge, but maybe the lower portion has a small hole chewed through or something... hmm...
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
The more I think about it the more the mouse explanation makes the most sense. Maybe this weekend I'll pull combs and look at the damage more closely. Thank you everyone for helping me out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I have a new theory as to what this is / was. I think it is bees cleaning out comb that had chilled brood or chalk brood in them. I have another post here discussing chalk brood. This weak split was eventually moved into a nuc, and I noticed more chalk brood problems in the nuc. I then ventilated it better, and came back a week or so later and pulled some frames. This time I noticed that where their had been chalk brood before, there was now chewed on comb. Guess this would be a hygienic trait? Since the comb wasn't chewed down low, I think the bees did it, not a mouse. Of course I could be wrong :)
 
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