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For some reason a small gap has opened up between the two medium boxes in my hive, probably between 1/16th and 1/8th of an inch. I checked and it didn't look like a buildup of wax or propolis... maybe the wood has warped slightly. Some of the bees hang around the gap like they are trying to get in, and when I pried it open a tad to try and see what was doing, the bees inside came flooding out like it was a prison break.

Two questions: one, anything abnormal in that bee behavior around the crack? And two, should I take any action to try and seal it up or just let them do their thing? I live in the Seattle area, and while not freezing by any means it is still getting down in the mid-40s overnight.

Thanks,
jared
 

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They will fill it with propolis if it's a problem for them. Might be what they were doing when you looked.

Boxes move, wood warps, stuff builds up on the top and bottom edges. Bees don't mind gaps.

Do, please, use smoke and a veil -- they may be tame now when there is plenty of nectar and pollen and the hive is empty, but I can promise you, they won't be in late summer and you will get stung quite a bit without smoke and a veil.....
 

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They will fill it with propolis if it's a problem for them. Might be what they were doing when you looked.
I have accidentally made edges of boxes unsquare (trying to get extra paint off that was sticking) and the bees just filled it with propolis. The gap was small enough the bees could not fit thru, so I would expect your hive to do the same thing.
 

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Two questions: one, anything abnormal in that bee behavior around the crack? And two, should I take any action to try and seal it up or just let them do their thing? I live in the Seattle area, and while not freezing by any means it is still getting down in the mid-40s overnight.
Jared - it may be that the bees are trying to fix the problem themselves with propolis right now, but gaps between boxes can always provide an alternative entrance for robbers - so if in any doubt, suggest you run some adhesive tape around the outside of the boxes as a temporary measure to seal the gap.
LJ
 

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Wood shrinks and expands a lot, especially in the direction perpendicular the grain. Dried wood can seasonally move 2% or more, easily enough to make an 1/8" gap. Usually boards of the same species will expand and contract about the same amount but it depends on where in the tree the board was milled from, how tight the grain is, grain orientation, and a number of other factors. There is virtually nothing you can do to resist wood movement, the ancient Egyptians split giant rocks to make the pyramids by pouring water over wood to make it swell. To compound matters the hive is an ever changing environment — right now they are bringing in lots of nectar and evaporating the water from it. A roll of blue painters tape is in my kit.
 

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Jared,
If you do not use bricks you can try to put one on each opposite corner where you will push the crack closed.
As bee evaporate the nectar and there is rain the wood can absorb some moisture, the weight will in time push out some of the wrap/twist in the wood.
Do confirm the bottom has not gone wonky due to a wood block rotting or settling and the top box is square and the bottom one has settled.
Can be either.
if the bees cannot fit thru then robbing cannot happen, can be an air source, in winter I would tape it up.
On A hot day you can stuff it with propolis with the hive tool as well.

GG
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks all - the gap is not big enough for anyone to get in or out. I'll keep an eye on it and go the painters tape route if it gets any larger, or is still an issue when the weather gets cold.
 

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Bees may not go in or out but drafts are created. I have surprised how big an effect drafts have on internal hive temperature. I would correct the root problem sometime and tape it in the meantime.
 

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Jared - it may be that the bees are trying to fix the problem themselves with propolis right now, but gaps between boxes can always provide an alternative entrance for robbers - so if in any doubt, suggest you run some adhesive tape around the outside of the boxes as a temporary measure to seal the gap.
LJ

GG - If the bees cannot fit thru then robbing cannot happen, can be an air source, in winter I would tape it up.
It seems that there is some difficulty in believing me when I say that gaps can lead to robbing ...

Here's a shot of a gap having opened-up at one corner of a box - I've inserted a popsicle stick into it, demonstrating that the gap is 2mm - not enough for any bee to enter or leave via that route ... yet.



But - although the bees could have chosen to repair that gap with propolis, they decided instead to excavate the area and so make another entrance/exit into the hive.



Had I not pulled the box (having observed robbers taking a particular interest in that area) the house bees would have continued their work, and insodoing would have inadvertently allowed robber bees an alternative means of entering their hive.
LJ
 
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