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Mouseguards and winter ventilation

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jenkinsbrynmair 

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ah, ok, thanks for that....i did cut the bottom of the circular holes on the guard to make it similar width to the middle of hole like a tear drop if you get me and they seemed to remove dead bees ok and its still mouse proof but thanks as every for the explanation...
I've never used mouse guards personally, but if I had to I would prefer the castellated type as then, all the bees have to do is drag the dead out, not having to lift them up to get them through one of the holes.
Like these people who turn the entrance blocks upside down for winter, so then the bees have to lift the bodies over the step - and still have to get them through the mouseguard!
 

Gilberdyke John 

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Truth be told, I would much rather have snakes than mice or rats.... Pests!
Even the venomous ones here are quite, uuum, harmless, if you understand what I mean .... If left alone that is!
Do you find Boomslangs in your location Michael? I recall visiting a place up in the Transvaal where various snakes were on show to the public and seeing a demonstration of milking venom from a Puff Adder. We were told most snakebite fatalities were attributable to them and the Puff Adder venom caused tissue breakdown and necrosis in the affected area. Fortunately we never encountered any snakes during our time out there. Neither did we encounter button spiders which were supposed to be a danger to the unwary. 😨
 

Michael ECB's 

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Do you find Boomslangs in your location Michael? I recall visiting a place up in the Transvaal where various snakes were on show to the public and seeing a demonstration of milking venom from a Puff Adder. We were told most snakebite fatalities were attributable to them and the Puff Adder venom caused tissue breakdown and necrosis in the affected area. Fortunately we never encountered any snakes during our time out there. Neither did we encounter button spiders which were supposed to be a danger to the unwary. 😨
We have a lot of species here in the Eastern Cape, including the Boomslang... Most dangerous nationwide is the Puff Adder as its preferred defence is to stand still,,, well or at least lay still... If stood on it will bite and the recipient will suffer ... Locally where I am its the spitter Rinkhals and the Cape Cobra is the most common.... BUT if left alone, harmless..... Much the same as picking a fight with an on coming truck.... Pick up a snake and accept what you get - A good hiding....
Pick your fights they say.... :cool:
 

understanding_bees 

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I would like to gain some clarity of understanding about the various comments which have been made in this discussion topic. It seems to be agreed that mice in beehives are a real problem. But there does not seem to be much agreement about the best way to defeat mice which may attempt to gain entry.

Cats – Yes they can catch mice, but they cannot be relied upon to catch every mouse.

Snakes – I am not sure that I want to follow that method.

Mouse guards - made from metal sheet with holes drilled in them, or with slots cut from their edge.

Underfloor entrances - 8mm or 9mm wide. Mice are expert climbers, and I think they may have no difficulty in negotiating a slot of this size.

It also seems that people may change their minds. For example Dani, in her comment #2 said, “You do need a mouse guard”, but then in comment #6 said, “I do not like mouse guards either”.

I wrote to this forum on 7th October (comment #36), in response to Curly’s comment #5. He had said that he did not like mouse guards, because pollen can be knocked from them when bees try to get through the holes. Curly also made a comment in response to my query, saying that it was not just mice but shrews as well which needed to be considered. Perhaps we in Australia are fortunate not to have shrews?

Jenkins made an important comment (#39) about the risk of bees becoming trapped if they were not able to clear dead bees through the holes in a mouse guard. I agree, particularly if we are talking about a hole which is slightly above the level of the landing board. However, I have not seen any reference to what diameter hole may be thought most suitable, whether it should be 6?, 7?, 8mm or something else.

In a subsequent comment (#41), Jenkins said that he had never used mouse guards, but that he would prefer a castellated mouse guard if he needed one, because then there would not be a “step” over which dead bees would have to be lifted.

In attempting to understand and digest all of these various pieces of advice and opinion, it seems that we need to have holes small enough to keep mice and shrews out, but big enough for bees to have easy passage. We want forager bees to be able to easily bring home the pollen, and undertaker bees to be able remove their dead.

I have used a row of non-rusting nails with 6mm gaps between them, across the width of my hive entrances which are 75mm wide and 12mm high. These nails are driven vertically into the base, forming a barricade which is 12mm high. Is there any reason why this gap size (6mm wide, by 12mm high) is not suitable for the task? Could a mouse or a shrew get through it? Would gaps of this size prevent the undertaker bees from doing their job?
 
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Erichalfbee 

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I would like to gain some clarity of understanding about the various comments which have been made in this discussion topic. It seems to be agreed that mice in beehives are a real problem. But there does not seem to be much agreement about the best way to defeat mice which may attempt to gain entry.



It also seems that people may change their minds. For example Dani, in her comment #2 said, “You do need a mouse guard”, but then in comment #6 said, “I do not like mouse guards either”.
Yes I don’t like mouse guards either. Under floor entrances for all mine, even the nucs.
No change of mind at all.
Post 2 was to the OP who has OMF with standard entrance so he needs a mouse guard.
Post 6, quoted explains I have underfloor entrances so no mouse guards.
 

seillean mil 

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I have a National with one of those inexpensive, perforated metal mouseguards (and no entrance block). It seems to provide a lot of airflow when you add up the total area of the openings. With a hive insulated in the way that seems to be gaining popularity, maybe the entrance alone will suffice and the Correx floor can remain in place in a cold or windy climate?

Maybe my bees don't have particularly big shopping bags, but I don't see pollen being knocked off them as the enter the hive.
 

Gilberdyke John 

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I've never used mouse guards personally, but if I had to I would prefer the castellated type as then, all the bees have to do is drag the dead out, not having to lift them up to get them through one of the holes.
Like these people who turn the entrance blocks upside down for winter, so then the bees have to lift the bodies over the step - and still have to get them through the mouseguard!
I would like to gain some clarity of understanding about the various comments which have been made in this discussion topic. It seems to be agreed that mice in beehives are a real problem. But there does not seem to be much agreement about the best way to defeat mice which may attempt to gain entry.

Cats – Yes they can catch mice, but they cannot be relied upon to catch every mouse.

Snakes – I am not sure that I want to follow that method.

Mouse guards - made from metal sheet with holes drilled in them, or with slots cut from their edge.

Underfloor entrances - 8mm or 9mm wide. Mice are expert climbers, and I think they may have no difficulty in negotiating a slot of this size.

It also seems that people may change their minds. For example Dani, in her comment #2 said, “You do need a mouse guard”, but then in comment #6 said, “I do not like mouse guards either”.

I wrote to this forum on 7th October (comment #36), in response to Curly’s comment #5. He had said that he did not like mouse guards, because pollen can be knocked from them when bees try to get through the holes. Curly also made a comment in response to my query, saying that it was not just mice but shrews as well which needed to be considered. Perhaps we in Australia are fortunate not to have shrews?

Jenkins made an important comment (#39) about the risk of bees becoming trapped if they were not able to clear dead bees through the holes in a mouse guard. I agree, particularly if we are talking about a hole which is slightly above the level of the landing board. However, I have not seen any reference to what diameter hole may be thought most suitable, whether it should be 6?, 7?, 8mm or something else.

In a subsequent comment (#41), Jenkins said that he had never used mouse guards, but that he would prefer a castellated mouse guard if he needed one, because then there would not be a “step” over which dead bees would have to be lifted.

In attempting to understand and digest all of these various pieces of advice and opinion, it seems that we need to have holes small enough to keep mice and shrews out, but big enough for bees to have easy passage. We want forager bees to be able to easily bring home the pollen, and undertaker bees to be able remove their dead.

I have used a row of non-rusting nails with 6mm gaps between them, across the width of my hive entrances which are 75mm wide and 12mm high. These nails are driven vertically into the base, forming a barricade which is 12mm high. Is there any reason why this gap size (6mm wide, by 12mm high) is not suitable for the task? Could a mouse or a shrew get through it? Would gaps of this size prevent the undertaker bees from doing their job?
I have my hives arranged in winter so any mouse attempting to enter the hive must first of all climb up the stand and then negotiate an overhang before reaching the entrance. Google Steddle Stones which were extensively used to sit winter grain stores on with the same principle.
 

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understanding_bees 

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You're wrong
Please help me to understand in what way I am wrong.
In your design for the underfloor entrance, you specified a 9mm gap. Another beekeeper who acknowledged your design and made a Youtube video has used an 8mm gap.
I said that mice are expert climbers - is this wrong? I can give very clear evidence that mice are extremely expert climbers!
I said that I think that mice may not have difficulty in negotiating a gap of 8mm or 9mm. Is this where you mean that I am wrong?
If you mean that mice will not be able to squeeze through a 9mm gap, and you are confident that this is true, I would appreciate your confirmation of this point. I am wanting to protect my bees, not just from adult mice, but from any juvenile mice which have not yet reached full adult size.
I have been amazed at how persistent mice can be in squeezing through a tight space. There is a fascinating Youtube video made by a man who wished to discover how small a hole (not a slot) which a mouse could climb through. As it so happened, a shrew also participated in this experiment. I hope that you and other forum members enjoy the performance of the mouse which features in the following video:
 

Erichalfbee 

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Please help me to understand in what way I am wrong.
In your design for the underfloor entrance, you specified a 9mm gap. Another beekeeper who acknowledged your design and made a Youtube video has used an 8mm gap.
I said that mice are expert climbers - is this wrong? I can give very clear evidence that mice are extremely expert climbers!
I said that I think that mice may not have difficulty in negotiating a gap of 8mm or 9mm. Is this where you mean that I am wrong?
If you mean that mice will not be able to squeeze through a 9mm gap, and you are confident that this is true, I would appreciate your confirmation of this point. I am wanting to protect my bees, not just from adult mice, but from any juvenile mice which have not yet reached full adult size.
I have been amazed at how persistent mice can be in squeezing through a tight space. There is a fascinating Youtube video made by a man who wished to discover how small a hole (not a slot) which a mouse could climb through. As it so happened, a shrew also participated in this experiment. I hope that you and other forum members enjoy the performance of the mouse which features in the following video:
Have you ever had mice in your hives?
 

jenkinsbrynmair 

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yes, we've all seen the youtube film.
The combination of the 8/9mm gap and the fact that to get to it they have to negotiate a vertical 3 inch wall mens mice can't squeeze their way in.
Mouse ingress is only an issue in winter when you have adult mice trying to find a warm sleeping place. With quite a few hives, all with UFE's, all in rural areas or near farm buildings, all with plenty of evidence of mouse activity, I have yet to find any evidence of mouse ingress, in fact, I havr seen mice climbing past the entrances and finding their way into the roofs to make a nest there.
 

understanding_bees 

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Have you ever had mice in your hives?
Thank you Dani, and also to others who have posted responses to my query. Have I had mice in my hives? No, I have not had that problem - at least not yet! I have only had bees through one winter, but In the years to come I do not want to start having that problem. Maybe the field mice in Australia have a different set of rules by which they live. I might also mention that field mice here are smaller than house mice. Space does not permit me to give an account of the problems which I did experience with mice which got into a motor-home. You may be interested to know that the problem of which I speak did not occur in winter, but in early summer. If you really want, I can tell that story to forum members.
In the meantime, I would really like to get a clear answer to my question (in comment #44), "Is there any reason why this gap size (6mm wide, by 12mm high) is not suitable for the task? "
 
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Erichalfbee 

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Thank you Dani, and also to others who have posted responses to my query. Have I had mice in my hives? No, I have not had that problem - at least not yet! I have only had bees through one winter, but In the years to come I do not want to start having that problem. Maybe the field mice in Australia have a different set of rules by which they live. I might also mention that field mice here are smaller than house mice. Space does not permit me to give an account of the problems which I did experience with mice which got into a motor-home. You may be interested to know that the problem of which I speak did not occur in winter, but in early summer. If you really want, I can tell that story to forum members.
In the meantime, I would really like to get a clear answer to my question (in comment #44), "Is there any reason why this gap size (6mm wide, by 12mm high) is not suitable for the task? "
I think it’s ok even in winter.
I’ve never had mice in a hive. There’s no way a mouse will get into a busy hive when the bees are active whatever size entrance you have.
 

Boston Bees 

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A pair of mice can produce 2000 offspring in a month.
Errr ....... no, I don't think this is correct. Sorry. I might be wrong, but no figures I can find online support anything like this figure. Could you guide me to something backing this up?

I think a pair of mice can produce two litters of (say) 10 offspring in a month (so 22 mice in total), not 2,000. The offspring themselves wouldn't be sexually mature during the first month, never mind giving birth.

After a few months it could indeed go a bit crazy, depending on what you assume for the number of females born etc.

Perhaps you meant a year?
 
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jenkinsbrynmair 

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Errr ....... no, I don't think this is correct. Sorry. I might be wrong, but no figures I can find online support anything like this figure. Could you guide me to something backing this up?

Perhaps you meant a year?
a pair of mice can produce 100 or so offspring in a year but obviously the offspring can quickly reach sexual maturity so a pair of mice could end up expanding to a mind boggling figure like 100,000 in a year
 

Antipodes 

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Errr ....... no, I don't think this is correct. Sorry. I might be wrong, but no figures I can find online support anything like this figure. Could you guide me to something backing this up?

I think a pair of mice can produce two litters of (say) 10 offspring in a month (so 22 mice in total), not 2,000. The offspring themselves wouldn't be sexually mature during the first month, never mind giving birth.

After a few months it could indeed go a bit crazy, depending on what you assume for the number of females born etc.

Perhaps you meant a year?
Sorry for the confusion Boston Bees, I left of the "s".:oops:

It's in the video in the second link.....at about 2:30....

They'll eat pretty much anything when they are hungry enough. Even themselves.
 

Antipodes 

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Thank you Dani, and also to others who have posted responses to my query. Have I had mice in my hives? No, I have not had that problem - at least not yet! I have only had bees through one winter, but In the years to come I do not want to start having that problem. Maybe the field mice in Australia have a different set of rules by which they live. I might also mention that field mice here are smaller than house mice. Space does not permit me to give an account of the problems which I did experience with mice which got into a motor-home. You may be interested to know that the problem of which I speak did not occur in winter, but in early summer. If you really want, I can tell that story to forum members.
In the meantime, I would really like to get a clear answer to my question (in comment #44), "Is there any reason why this gap size (6mm wide, by 12mm high) is not suitable for the task? "
Apparently they can get through 8mm. Please see this NSW government article.

 

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