mouse guards

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newportbuzz 

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sorry for a daft question but when should i put my mouse guards on.
I read somewhere when we get the first frost but leave it as late as possible . i will be using zinc plastering beading for the actual guard so its an easy thing to remove and add. and this leads to another question when should they come off???
thanks in advance.
tim
 

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Can the bees get through that ?
What is the mesh size.
 

newportbuzz 

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it is 1cm *2 cm mesh in a diamond shape. i think it can sometimes cause the pollen to become dislodged from the bees which is my worry with when i put it on the hive.
 

Ivor Kemp 

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Advice in Beecraft this month is to think very hard whether you need to use them at all!

Argument goes that each hole in the mesh of the mouseguard is regarded as a separate entrance by the bees needing to be defended.
 

newportbuzz 

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well from my point of view the 3 things that can kill my bees this winter will be the WET(live in ireland on the seaside.) my stupidity(very possible) and mice (live in a farm 1 mile from nearest neighbours with 3 cats that are rightfully afraid of the hives and so dont hunt down there anymore.)
so i dont need a mouse guard but i do need to stop mice gettin in.
Out of interest did they advise reducing to one bee space of some other alternative or just take the risk?
 

Monsieur Abeille 

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Out of interest did they advise reducing to one bee space of some other alternative or just take the risk?
He (Wally Shaw) suggests closing the entrance down to 100mmx7-8mm, arguing that the height is the important part. I've heard contra arguments to this that mice can twist their heads quite well.

Not sure I agree with his suggestion either that the bees need to guard every hole in a mouseguard - exactly what would they guarding from? The argument about sharp edges is only valid while pollen is being brought in. He also argues that they make disposing of hive debris difficult - maybe but that seems to me a small price to pay.

To be fair he does suggest that some sort of protection is needed, mouseguard or not.
 

winmag270 

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not saying anymore in case SWMBO reads this... ;o)
never used mouseguards, just left the entrance block in place, never had a problem with mouses in any of the seven apiaries i've used over the years....
 

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Ok so now I am confused. Can mice get in through reduced entrance blocks?

Do you put the mouse guard over the entrance block or remove the entrance block before fitting the mouse guard.

Also when do they go on. I was taught that Octobeer is the time but the bees are still bringing in ivy pollen on the sunny days here in Yorkshire. V cold overnight but they are flying when it warms up.
 

Heather 

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IMO Mice can get through a reduced entrance.
Bees are not needing to defend from robbing and wasps in the near future- just mice and woodpeckers are a problem.
I remove the entrance block totally and put mouseguard on. Ensure no wind 'whistling' in the entrance. They have ventilation, cannot be blocked in by debris of dead bees over winter (if you put mouseguard over reduced entrance this can happen- more difficult to witness too).
As soon as sunny days start in the Spring ( varies according to area!)- remove guard-back to entrance - mice are out and about too
Also heft the hive- it may need fondant at that time.
March- Spring feed of 1:1 syrup to flush the bees digestive system and keep them healthy
 

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Was reading elsewhere how its a good idea for the coming weeks post mouseguard fitting to open it up every now and then and sweep away the debris (dead bees) that will inevitably build up. Anyone do this?
 

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Forgive another question from a newbee.

I was planning to arrange the mouseguard with the bottom row of holes level with the bottom of the entrance block. That way I think that a mortuary bee could remove the corpse of a dead bee through the holes and there would be no build up of dead bees?

Is my understanding correct?
 

oliver90owner 

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Being on OMFs, I leave anything up to the full entrance width as mouseguard. Over 50% usually presents no prblem with getting blocked with dead bees. A piece of bent wire is sufficient as a probe to make sure all is clear at winter checks.

The Dartingtons have a vertical slot 8mm wide and about 60mm high. I usually make a right angle corner 8mm or a little less wide with an appropriate piece of wood slid in. Never had a problem in the Dartingtons but nor in my other hives, for that matter.

Mouse damage is rare but the damage caused is often a complete disaster to the colony.

The cost of a mouse guard is little in comparison with the potential damage caused - the cost of the colony and the frames/combs/stores destroyed. Simple insurance really.

An analogy might be continually leaving one's front door ajar and being surprised when a thief takes advantage of one's stupidity.

Regards, RAB
 

newportbuzz 

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Was reading elsewhere how its a good idea for the coming weeks post mouseguard fitting to open it up every now and then and sweep away the debris (dead bees) that will inevitably build up. Anyone do this?
i made a bent coat hanger to do this job dont need to disasemble anything then and no real disterbance. just bend it into a long l shape and use it as a rake/broom from the enterance. if there is a big problem you will feel it or see it on the inspection tray anyway.
 

jezd 

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RAB, there is a another issue with mouse guards and that is on cold days the bees often fail to get back in quickly and the delay simply kills them off - I have still not put them on here and have serious doubts, MG's are a bit like OA treatment for me - pros and cons
 

oliver90owner 

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Jezd,

I agree, there is always another side to it. My mouse guards are generally ones that come down to the alighting board (if there is one). This means the bees can crawl in underneath the MG.

The Dartingtons basically don't have a mouse guard and dry wood is a better insulator than metal. The entrance is well recessed under the hive and is, in all ways, a better arrangement than my other hives, IMO.

Some of my Nationals do have a very narrow (height) entrance which is not further protected. That doesn't leave so many with standard mouse guards - only being a hobby beekeeper.

Not so keen on the beehaus entrance and their suggested over-wintering instructions, but that will not be an issue this winter - it's empty, and looks like staying that way until next spring!

The MBS nucs will be stood on a larger board than their footprint, and almost like the old ricks and grainstores - a wide horizontal gap between the support and the edge of the board should satisfactorily thwart any climbing rodents. But they will not be coming home until they are settled down for the winter.

Regards, RAB
 

newportbuzz 

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RAB, there is a another issue with mouse guards and that is on cold days the bees often fail to get back in quickly and the delay simply kills them off - I have still not put them on here and have serious doubts, MG's are a bit like OA treatment for me - pros and cons
thats a worrying thought as irish weather is anything but stable and they will definatly get caught out. but there are definatly mice around the place we have 3 cats which have a healthy frear of the hives so dont hunt around there but they hunt everywhere else and this time of the year i will find the cats playing with mice often. (I let them have the mice and rats and take the shrews and voles from them.)
 

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Ok so now I am confused. Can mice get in through reduced entrance blocks?

Do you put the mouse guard over the entrance block or remove the entrance block before fitting the mouse guard.

Also when do they go on. I was taught that Octobeer is the time but the bees are still bringing in ivy pollen on the sunny days here in Yorkshire. V cold overnight but they are flying when it warms up.
If there is one thing I have learned over the last year, it is that like economists, when you have a group of four beekeepers, there will be a minimum of five opinions.

:confused:
 

Leigh 

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I'm thinking of making entrance blocks drilled with a series of 8mm holes - can anyone see why this wouldn't work as a mouse guard?
 

Teemore 

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Scrounged some strips pf 6mm perspex today (and found a source of more corex for making inspection boards and dummy frames etc.) and i plan to drill a series of 8mm holes in these to create mouse guards. Still unsure as to whether i will actually fit them. Living in the country we tend to "feed" rats and mice a special diet throughout the year so maybe they will not bother my hives.... I just don't want to discover in the Spring that I should have fitted MGs.
 

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