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Mouse guard/entrance block

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Beezy 

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Hi,

All the books I read advise removing entrance block around this time and replacing with mouse guard for winter. However, I don't really understand this as wouldn't it be better to leave in the block and put the guard over the top, thereby reducing the gaps that cold air can enter but still allowing bees to enter/exit??
 

Kev 

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Hi Beezy,

Has been a (long) while since i kept bees but thats what I always used to do. would be interested if others think that its the wrong way of doing it.

Of course when I last kept bees Varroa wasnt a problem so didnt have mesh floors that probably provide so much ventilation that the entrance block doesnt make nuch difference.
Will help wih robbing though.

Kev
 
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oliver90owner 

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No OMF then? Totally irrelevant if on OMF. Ventilation is most important.

I will not be fitting them until shortly before clustering is likely to occur. Exact dates are, as usual, meaningless. Some of my hives hives do not need them and for others I simply reduce the entry gap to allow bees to squeeze through. I have never had mouse damage yet, but I would only need it once for that to never be true again, of course!

Last year, something bigger actually pushed in an entrance block (OMF, left with a narrow, home-made entrance block, but never gained entry. I suspected a rat, but it could have been a woodpecker? A mouse guard was hurriedly fitted to that one!

Regards, RAB
 
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I don't get how mice are supposed to get into a WBC - the entrance gap in maybe 14-1/2 ". Surely a mouse couldn't get in that??
 

oliver90owner 

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Mice can easily squeeze through a half inch gap! Mouse guards are designed to prevent them getting their skull through really. If they can get that far they can likely get the rest through, especially if it is a slot. We are not talking here of the fat pets that some keep, but of the real outdoors variety which will be leaner and more venture-some, where it is either a nice warm, well provisioned hive or possible starvation or predation as alternatives. The bees, if active, will not allow entry, of course, but as soon as the bees start to cluster there is a real opening for any opportunistic mouse.

The Dartingtons are safe - they have an 8mm slot but there is a right angle bend arranged (for over-wintering) any probing mice to negotiate and that seems enough to deter them.

Regards, RAB
 

Beezy 

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I have OMF. So basically it doesn't really matter if the block is in or out?

RAB, when you say you fit shortly before clustering is likely, how do you know? What are the signs for this?
 

Beezy 

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What are the signs for this?

The weather.

Regards, RAB
Hmm. That's not very helpful to me as I'm in London. We've had wintery rubbish weather for several weeks until this week when we had a strange mini heatwave.
 

admin 

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In deepest Hants I go for Bonfire night and work backwards if the weather turns.
 

Polyanwood 

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My best colony was decimated by mice last year. It died in the Spring. No mouseguard.
 

Hebeegeebee 

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RAB,
I had an attack last year - definitely not a woodpecker. This was a WBC - the entrance slider was ripped to pieces and the intruder started going for the hive entrance and made it bigger. I slid in a new slider and a mouse guard in front of it as a steel mouse guard is not so easy to chew through.
.
 

kazmcc 

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I was told if you can get a pencil through a hole, then a mouse can fit too :( by a pest controller.
 
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Yuck - don't think I like mice...OK, well 'd better attach a porch to my WBC in double quick time then. I was supposed to inspect for EFB today, but it is only 13 so dare not open it. Hope the weather changes quickly...
 

SixFooter 

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The Dartingtons are safe - they have an 8mm slot but there is a right angle bend arranged (for over-wintering) any probing mice to negotiate and that seems enough to deter them.

Regards, RAB
I made a couple of floors with a vertical 8mm slot. However, the horizontal gap that leads from the front to this is about 25 mm high. Would that be mouse-proof?
 

oliver90owner 

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Would that be mouse-proof?

I could never be sure, vertical must help, but with yours I would simply reduce that 25mm gap to something appropriate. I would slide in an 18-19mm removable block (or whatever is just OK and a bit) for the bees during the winter. As long as the bees can negotiate the corner, and nothing else can, you are as safe as you can get. Alternatively fit a mouse guard over the 25 mm front gap.

I simply have a block with a couple of screws (screwed part way in) so the heads are accessible as handles.

Mine are two piece jobs. One piece acts to block off all the gap (used for guarding against wasps) and the smaller piece jams in the last 75-100mm when required for winter. But that is for my Dartingtons, where the bees are clustering nowhere near the exit slot so if any perish (as they will) they do not fall directly over the slot. Yours may need a full length slot.

Regards, RAB
 

Hombre 

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I was told if you can get a pencil through a hole, then a mouse can fit too :( by a pest controller.
I should be OK then, no pest controllers to squeeze mice into my pencil sized vertical slots . . . These PCs get everywhere eh?
 

kazmcc 

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I should be OK then, no pest controllers to squeeze mice into my pencil sized vertical slots . . . These PCs get everywhere eh?
Lol, the image of some bloke squeezing mice through pencil sized holes makes me laugh :p We had a mouse problem when the run down shop on the corner was modernised. Seems they vacated to the surrounding houses. I rang out the council after coming down one morning and putting my hand in the bread bag to make toast, only to find a warm, soft, furry, wriggling piece of bread in there. I've never moved so fast!! The mouse leapt out of the bag, did a wheel spin on the work top, then scrambled down the back of the cooker :willy_nilly: I asked what I could do to stop them and asked if sealing up the skirting boards would work, and that was when they told me about the pencil sized holes. The cat deals with them now lol
 

plumber rob 

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i put on a mouse guard and then watched my bees coming and going and noticed that they were bringing back pollen and losing most of it on the guard so i removed it for now and will keep an eye on the pollen levels i did not want to hinder winter /spring feed ,hope this helps someone else

regards rob.
 

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