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Mouseguard - with entrance block or remove it?

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nelletap 

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I am about to add the mouseguard and try to woodpecker proof my hive. I had assumed the entrance block would stay in place but one report I read said remove it. Anyone with any comments as to which is better?
I am going to make a sort of quadruple layer garden net corset to protect from woodpeckers. My reading suggested wire wasn't necessary - just something to prevent teh woodpeckers gripping with their claws. Again, any observations from those with more experience greatly welcomed!
tricia
 

Flatters 

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You will need to remove the entrance block otherwise it will make it virtually impassable. You will see the mouse guard has holes along its whole length to allow the bees to come and go.
 

nelletap 

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Many thanks. I was not sure whether they'd still be able to get in and out and knew someone here would help.
T
 

oliver90owner 

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OMF? Strong colony?

Some thought before fitting a mouseguard full length. They could still get robbing with a full width mouseguard yet. Wait until they cluster, or about to. While busy they will keep the entrance clear. If on a solid floor, they may need extra entry for ventilation, depending, of course what top ventilation is arranged. I've not fitted any mouseguards as yet.

Regards, RAB
 

TOBY-3652 

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Been reading about mouse guards. I have 1 national on omf entrance block still in place and mouse guard is on. Bees seem to be getting in ok have i done wrong leaving block in??hope not
 

Gardenbees 

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I've left the block in, but only on the hive with a castellated mouseguard (it offers quite a lot of access for the bees, and for air circulation). A more usual, round-holed mouseguard is going on my other hive, with no entrance block (but I haven't attached that one just yet).

Actually I don't think it's a disaster to leave the block in, but you might want to remove the guard fairly early in spring so as not to risk hindering the bees on their first flights.

One of my colonies was clustering quite tightly today (I can see them through the OMF by shining a torch for a couple of seconds - very handy!). The other colony aren't quite tucked up for winter yet, but are very sleepy. So I don't think they'll be needing a lot of access from now on.
 

TOBY-3652 

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Great advice mine is just the standard mouse guard just one more question the plastic inspection tray under floor is that 2 b left in place or removed?
 

Gardenbees 

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I've removed the varroa trays to avoid buildup of damp & poor air circulation. But my hives have "skirts" extending some way below the OMF, so the wind can't howl right across the open mesh. Plus, there's plenty of room in both hives for the bees to get away from the cold floor if they want to climb higher. Although I wouldn't worry too much about cold: it's damp that's the real problem. It's all a matter of opinion though: after all, plenty of people still have closed-floor hives with no opening at all apart from the entrance (and perhaps a gap wedged open along one edge).

Re. the original post: I forgot to mention that there are several useful threads on the topic of both mouseguards and woodpeckers, which you might not have found:
http://www.beekeepingforum.co.uk/showthread.php?t=7335 (mouseguards)
http://www.beekeepingforum.co.uk/showthread.php?t=7526 both
http://www.beekeepingforum.co.uk/showthread.php?t=7112 (woodies)
 

nelletap 

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This has all been helpful and illuminating. I have an OMF and quite a strong colony. I had restricted the entrance even more than the block - halved the reduced opening. I got the bees in late July and was worried about wasps whilst they were still weaker (in size). They seemed to cope with this. When I came to put on the mouseguard this afternoon I could not remove the entrance block though I did remove the extra that had restricted the opening even more. I was able to line the guard up so the holes in the metal were along the reduced opening so it seemed to give a reasonable area of opening compared with what they had become accustomed to. I think I will leave it like that but make sure that I remove it as smartly as I can in early spring. I had tried to go prepared with a largish crochet hook to allow me to discreetly push it into the entrance and get some purchase on the block and I could exert a reasonable force. They have done well with stores for winter so I think the weight may be preventing me pulling out the block - probably with some propolis too!
 

keithgrimes 

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I've removed the varroa trays to avoid buildup of damp & poor air circulation. But my hives have "skirts" extending some way below the OMF, so the wind can't howl right across the open mesh. Plus, there's plenty of room in both hives for the bees to get away from the cold floor if they want to climb higher. Although I wouldn't worry too much about cold: it's damp that's the real problem. It's all a matter of opinion though: after all, plenty of people still have closed-floor hives with no opening at all apart from the entrance (and perhaps a gap wedged open along one edge).

Re. the original post: I forgot to mention that there are several useful threads on the topic of both mouseguards and woodpeckers, which you might not have found:
http://www.beekeepingforum.co.uk/showthread.php?t=7335 (mouseguards)
http://www.beekeepingforum.co.uk/showthread.php?t=7526 both
http://www.beekeepingforum.co.uk/showthread.php?t=7112 (woodies)
I've put wooden 'skirts' behind the stands too. OMF with no varroa tray to aid ventilation and prevent damp build up. One good tip I have had was to use duct tape to block the very large full width hole where the OMF and varroa floor slide in (big source of drafts). Like previous posts, no mouseguard yet, maybe in a couple of weeks.
 

MuswellMetro 

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Great advice mine is just the standard mouse guard just one more question the plastic inspection tray under floor is that 2 b left in place or removed?
can of worms!!!!!


my veiw is that if you have light insulation above the Crown you keep the board in and vent the crown board with a single porter escape on the north side and block the other central feed hole and or if you have a good insulated crown board then leave the varroa board out and have no vent at the top

but others disagree, and No i don't like or use matchsticks under the crown,

i am a hot top, cold bottom man so i have 4" of kingspan on the crown board and varroa board out ( helps i think with varroa as they can't climb or jump back) BUT i either have a super underneath or stand with a deep skirt to prevent draughts
 
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oliver90owner 

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All mine are, or soon will be, on OMFs. I have found a 14 x 12 brood box full of stores over-winters the bees dry and cosy without any top ventilation at all. I use polystyrene top insulation, into which has been cut a suitable hole for the typical Chinese Take Away plastic container, which I use for feeding fondant, if necessary. The piece cut out is simply left fitted into the hole. They are rarely needed.

Regards, RAB
 

psafloyd 

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You will need to remove the entrance block otherwise it will make it virtually impassable. You will see the mouse guard has holes along its whole length to allow the bees to come and go.
I fitted my mouseguard today and as I have never done it before, waited to make sure it was passable. Neither incoming or outgoing ladies seemed to struggle, though there is little activity today,even when it was at its warmest, despite a lack of wind.

However [please note, I am a newbie] I did not remove the entrance block and here is for why:
1) I can't remember either reading it should be removed or being told to do so.
2) I didn't think of it.
3) The removal of the block allows for a gaping hole to allow gales to blow through the hive.
4) I was careful to align the holes with the entrance and the bees seeem to have no difficulty moving in either direction.

Now, I know this is a dangerous question likely to attract more than two possible answers, but is that the wrong thing to do?

:bigear:
 

psafloyd 

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Been reading about mouse guards. I have 1 national on omf entrance block still in place and mouse guard is on. Bees seem to be getting in ok have i done wrong leaving block in??hope not
Mine is also OMF.
 

Onge 

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Entrance reducer block in. (I leave in all year)

Mouse guard on.

OMF open all winter.(and summer)

No top ventilation.

Leave until spring. :)
 

freethorpe bees 

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I have taken my entrance block out and put on the mouse guard and I was thinking the same thing - it seems it would make it more draughty.
 

freethorpe bees 

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can of worms!!!!!


i am a hot top, cold bottom man so i have 4" of kingspan on the crown board and varroa board out ( helps i think with varroa as they can't climb or jump back) BUT i either have a super underneath or stand with a deep skirt to prevent draughts
Muswell - daft question here. If you have a super on underneath the brood box do you fill it with frames? If so, empty or full? Wouldn't it make the whole hive more draughty?

Please be gentle with me!
 

Mike a 

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I use polystyrene top insulation, into which has been cut a suitable hole for the typical Chinese Take Away plastic container, which I use for feeding fondant, if necessary.
Regards, RAB
When you've used this method has the fondant ever dried out to the point it falls out of the container on the crown board? My concern would be crushing and killing some bees feeding on the fondant at the time or do you fill the container completely to prevent this from happening.
 

MuswellMetro 

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Muswell - daft question here. If you have a super on underneath the brood box do you fill it with frames? If so, empty or full? Wouldn't it make the whole hive more draughty?

Please be gentle with me!

freethorpe

i use an empty super, without frames under the brood or stands with skirts

, i get my wife to help lift a full 14x12 brood on to a second stand, then i clean the floor, empty super on then my wife helps me lift the 14x12 back

saying that on most of my stands i now have 6"skirts,, my stands are high at about 2ft as i am 6ft 3 and the skirts are actually fragile planet ply super sides that i purchased off ebay but did not like the quality so used them for skirts instead of supers
 

Silly Bee 

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When you've used this method has the fondant ever dried out to the point it falls out of the container on the crown board? My concern would be crushing and killing some bees feeding on the fondant at the time or do you fill the container completely to prevent this from happening.

When I feed fondant, I invert the container, and give it a sharp tap, the fondant falls into the lid, then put it over the hole in the CB.
 

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