Foundation abuse

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Drone Bee
Dec 4, 2008
Reaction score
Dordogne 24360 France
Hive Type
Number of Hives
16 a mix of Commercial, National, 14 x 12, Dadant and a Warre
I have one colony that is destroying any frame of new foundation offered:(
They very neatly chew away a half inch strip along all the wires leaving unsupported floppy "dunces caps" of foundation:toetap05:
Anyone have any ideas why? My other colonies have accepted the same batch of foundation without any problem.
Regards Mike
something there they are objecting to.

Try using another colony to draw the foundation and give the created comb to your problem box.

Also I would re-queen as this would seem to be a genetic trait.

I have never come across this before in 20 odd years of beekeeping.
Monel wire is the usual wire used! .Could be the wire, could be the strain of bee. This may sound silly but are there any powerful transmissions in close proximity ?,High Frequency gear ?, reason I ask is that the positon of the hive in relation to such a source could cause the wire to resonate at a harmonic of the fundimental frequency of the source.
The total length of reinforcing wire being approx 2 metres in length (common length used in the radio spectrum).
Altering the position of the hive slightly (rotating it on it's axis ) could nullify this phenonemum :).

John Wilkinson
This picture was posted on the other forum by Nellie (hope you dont mind me using the picture)
You can see they have done the same
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Are the bee's in swarming mode,bee's that are,or that have a virgin queen will sometimes not draw wax,prefering to mess it up instead.
This picture was posted on the other forum by Nellie (hope you dont mind me using the picture)

No worries. The bees in this hive are little gits when it comes to foundation. They'd made an absolute pigs ear of two frames, though in their defence it did look like there was unwired foundation that had slipped in it and they'd brace comb across to another frame, next inspection hilarity ensued.

That frame was nice new foundation from one of my frames that we replaced the messed up ones with. one week later and it looks like that.

There is at least one other frame in that hive where they've built a "Den" behind some of the cells.
I have a hive that has a queen from last year,she was from a swarm from a local beekeeper who gave them to me,she is from an Italian mother and was very slow to get laying this year with only 3-4 frames of brood.

I have moved the brood out to try and get her laying on more frames but its a job when her kids are making a complete dogs dinner of the foundation.

It seems they have not been to comb building school !!
Hivemaker - Yes this colony had an emergin virgin on 2 May I was checking to see if she was laying and found this mess. Sadly she wasn't fingers crossed another week should do it.

Nellie - my frames were similar to your pic but they had continued up all the wires so the wax just fell out:(

Victor M - No power lines or mobile phone masts anywhere near but 3 days of electrical storms last week may have upset them.

Thanks for all your ideas. Mike
I cannot see nothing odd in Nelly's picture. Bees have started to draw cells. They may move wax from one place to another.

If you mean the hole around the wire, that is nothing.

More I wonder yours difficult way to wire.
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I've had this and it happens when the wire is not embedded far enough into the foundation and the bees end up chewing all the foundation away from the wire.

I have not observed what hivemaker mentions but maybee that's because I've not been observant enough....
Do they do this when a flow stops and they get frustrated?
Was there a satisfactory conclusion to this wax gobbling problem, or did they stop?

The girls in my second hive have started doing exactly the same!

It's a new queen, collected her from Mike Roberts on Friday 19th May.

I made up a 3 frame nuc on the friday afternoon using stuff donated from the adjacent hive; it's the only other one I have, and there's been no chewing in there.

The queen was accepted by the bees, I presume; I've come face to face with her this afternoon, and she is laying, I've seen eggs and larva - there's capped brood in there too, but that might not be hers, of course.

I slipped some more frames of foundation in there two days ago, and they are drawing one of them, and chewing the wax of another.

Referring to previous remarks on the subject, from John, I think it was, no power lines nearby, but I am close to an Emergency Services communications building, the aerials are VHF, UHF, and there are a couple of microwave dishes, but not pointing my way.

Any idea's?

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The virgin queen in the foundation wrecking colony eventually mated and came into lay and the wax chewing stopped - the threat of an ASBO might have helped:)
The colony is now on double national brood and 3 supers and going like a train, I'm using it as a queen cell raising colony by separating the two brood boxes with the 3 supers - queen in bottom brood box - seems to be working too:):)
:cheers2: Mike
OK Mike,

Thanks for that info, my Queen is mated OK, and I know she's the one I put in last week, because she's got a nice, shiny' green tag on her, with "49" on it.

I'm intending to pop down there tomorrow, and pull that frame out, and then put another in - I'll let you know what happens.

Have you had/heard of problems with a certain foundation supplier in the past Mike ?
The colony is now on double national brood and 3 supers and going like a train, I'm using it as a queen cell raising colony by separating the two brood boxes with the 3 supers - queen in bottom brood box - seems to be working too:):)
:cheers2: Mike

What are you upto ? are you grafting,using a Jenta kit or adding a frame of brood ?
Mike,some are doing the same with foundation from Thornes or Pete Kemble,bin using both.
My foundation came from Paynes, but so far, it's only one frame affected out of 33.

Maybe, [hopefully], it's just an odd one, I'm going to change it later.

Whilst writing this, it has occurred to me that some of the frames in the affected hive, were kept in a 5 frame nuc box that I kept in the van for a time.

I'd carried it round in case I got a call to a swarm, and there might be a drop of Lemon Grass oil on those frames, and one of those could be the one that's getting chewed.

Any views on that?

I can vouch for Paynes foundation, no issues here but I do get the odd hive that abuses their home sometimes.