Woodpecker protection - what sized mesh?

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New Bee
Aug 12, 2009
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I decided to put anti-woodpecker mesh around my two hives last week.

I used mesh with a hole size of 1" vertical and 1 1/2" horizontal on the first hive. Standing back admiring my work I noticed that the mesh would probably allow a woodpecker to lean through and attack the hive through the mesh. So.....

I headed back inside to check reference books and the web. The recommendation there was to use 1/2" chicken wire. So.....

I made up the next hive's protection using 1/2" chicken wire.

Then.... yesterday, glorious weather, bees busy outside both hives. However the bees in the hive surrounded by the 1/2 " chicken wire were having difficulty getting through the wire; the bees had to cling to the mesh and seemed to be struggling to get through, with some falling to the ground in their struggles.

On the larger-meshed hive the bees were sailing through with no problems.

Now, I know that woodpecker attack is a learned behaviour, so not everyone who uses mesh protection will know if their mesh would have worked. For those who are sure that they have prevented woodpecker attack using mesh, what is the best size of mesh, and does this mesh interfere with bee traffic in and out of the hive?

Wood pecker uses 48 mm nest "entrance".

Perhaps normal plastic bird net hinder the birds efforts.

My friend put CD rom disks to hang near beehives and it frightened woodpeckers.
Have you had woodpeckers attacking the hive around the entance? I would leave that area clear of unecessary obstruction- at least until cold weather arrives. Am I lucky that I have never had any damage from them? I shall not protect unless they start on them.

Regards, RAB
In Finland great tits eat bees in winter. But bees are so many that tits make no harm to hives.

had Green woodpecker damage 3 hives last winter I applied 1/2 inch wire mesh around , the bees soon got used to it and it kept the other hives safe from the woodpecker.
Buffalo - thanks for the advice, I will use finer mesh for other hive.

Finman - are you suggesting that any mesh less than 46mm would keep a green woodpecker out?

o90o - I suppose i could wire in a panel of wider mesh at the front, but my concern is the woodpecker could simply climb through.

Interestingly, at the Hants BKA convention last weekend, one of the speakers said he had already had a visit from Woody this autumn, hence my haste in preparing the defences. I had thought they were only a problem after the first proper frosts, but I suppose a free meal of 20kg of honey/10,000 bees must be quite a temptation at any time of year.

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