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wax foundation in bits under hive

3876 Views 5 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  Sue H
Hi there,

I'm seeing an accumulation of bits of wax foundation on the ground directly under my hive this past week (we've been having very heavy rain). The hive is up on a stand with an open screened bottom. It looks like it is shedding from the hive. Any thoughts on what's going on?

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The bee cluster has moved to a part of the frames with capped honey. The bees are tearing open the wax cappings to get at the honey. The little pieces of wax cappings fall to the floor of the hive (or through the screen bottom). This sounds normal.

I don't know how warm your weather has been, but if your hive has been experiencing robbing, you will also see many tiny wax pieces. (but you will also see many dead bees from the fighting.)
Sue H,
Are you certain they are small bits of beeswax foundation, or could they be bits of wax cappings, removed by the bees to access honey stores?

If they are bits of beeswax foundation, I could wonder why there would be foundation in the hive at this time of year. Unless you are feeding them like crazy, or there is a honey flow on, they won't be doing anything with foundation except chewing holes in it.

If it were cold enough, and the rain were hard enough, that combination could possibly cause the beeswax foundation to shatter or crumble.
Do the bees reuse the wax capping crumbs ? I've not seen them remove it from the hives on a wooden bottom.
It could be the weather. This is the first time I've seen this and it was after a week of record breaking rainfall and storms for our area. Maybe it could be a combination of feeding on honey stores too. For this bad week the bees were not flying at all, so far (except this past week) this winter they have been foraging every day (SF Bay area). I see what could be caps and also bits that look like parts of cells.

As for mice I have the entrance reducer on (worried about robbing on my year one hive) maybe they can fit through there. Should I switch to a mouse guard cover?

Thanks for your advice, always something new (for me) with bee keeping!
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