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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
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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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.
 

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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")
 

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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
 

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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.
 

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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
 

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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
 

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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
 

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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.
 

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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.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Sounds like my bees. I'll adjust the boxes in spring to close that gap. Just hadn't seen that before.
 

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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.
 
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