Saturday, April 3, 2010

Mouse in the Hive

A couple weeks ago I started cracking open my hives to see what kinda damage the winter had done to my bees. In the fall I had put entrance reducers on all my hives except one, my "weak hive", which I was sure wouldn't make it through the fall let alone the winter into spring. Entrance reducers do just what they say, they reduce the entrance to the hive. It is an elongated wooden block that fits into the entrance of a beehive to reduce the size of the entrance. Reducing the size of the hive entrance is important when a hive is weak, or during the winter to reduce the cold air flow inside the hive and to keep out "hibernating pests".

So to my surprise this spring I opened up my weak hive and there were still a decent number of bees in there buzzing. So i mixed up some sugar water in an entrance feeder and applied it to the hive and commenced to going through the hive to check everything out. The cluster of bees took up about three frames. I started on the side where the cluster was at and everything looked good, I even found the queen and some eggs, But as I got a couple frames over from the cluster the story changed. The farther away from the cluster I got the more destroyed the frames of comb became. While pulling the last three frames (which had hardly no comb left) I noticed something in the bottom of the hive. Now I grew up in the country, been here pretty much my entire life, and I know a mouse nest when I see one! That was a mouse nest in the bottom of my hive!! It was over against the wall opposite of the cluster of bees. I am pretty sure that at least one mouse co-existed with my bees through the winter, and I'm thinking kinda like a "beehive duplex" sorta deal going on! So I cleaned the nest out, and grumbled about my destroyed frames of comb. Because that's just more work my bees are gonna have to do this spring by having to pull those frames full of comb when they could be putting up honey for us to harvest. All of us beekeepers know COMB IS VALUABLE!

Entrance reducer from W.T. Kelley's = $1.25
New wax foundation sheets = $10.00
Personal experience learned = PRICELESS

Here's pics of some of the "not so bad" frames...

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