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bees knees 

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Interested to know what experiences beeks have had with woodpeckers over winter. How many people specifically protect their hives with netting? Also, some of what i have read seems to imply that it is green woodpeckers that are the problem specifically - is this the case or are all wooodpeckers a potential problem? We definitely have greater spotted woodpeckers visiting our garden so plan to use netting over the winter (this is our first year as beeks). Is this necessary? Those who use netting - when do you put it in place?
Many thanks in advance... :confused::nature-smiley-12:
 

MJBee 

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Woodpeckers have to learn that beehives contain goodies. I have 3 of my hives in a wood with nesting woodpeckers less than 5 yards away and have not had a problem (yet:coolgleamA:)

As your hives are in your garden and you can keep a close eye on them I would not bother with protection but would have netting and plastic available should they come under attack.
 

oliver90owner 

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Once in ten years is the sum total of my 'pecker' experience. That was this last winter (January) and the local peckers may well have previous experience with other hives at that one location.

A very heavy duty plastic bag (under the roof and over the brood box) deterred any further damage (no actual hole) on that occasion and there was no damp problem with the hive (OMF) and I left the bag on it until about March.

I think woodpecker damage is over stated - until they learn there is food - and then you are in trouble!! Probably every year, especially if very cold.

Regards, RAB
 

Chris B 

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It's only the green ones that do the damage.

I have a persistent problem in one apiary from the time I inherited from the previous beekeeper, but nothing elsewhere except superficial damage.
 

Gardenbees 

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A pair of green woodpeckers has recently shown an interest in my hives. I hear them calling sometimes at the end of the garden, and once caught sight of one hopping across the decking which the hives are mounted on. Since then I've only heard the female, but she's clearly still interested. No sign of any peck-marks yet, but I will definitely be putting netting up around the hives as it gets colder. Clearly, Mr & Mrs Yafflingale have seen a beehive before and know that goodies lie within!

They're creatures of habit, and capable of doing a lot of damage, so prevention is better than cure, I reckon... The only damage I've seen on a friend's hive is an incredible raid on a WBC hive, consisting of hammering half of one of the risers almost to bits, then whacking a big hole in the side of the brood box and demolishing a large chunk of brood comb.
 

Heather 

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We had an invasion at an out apiary that wasnt visited enough- There was a hole you could get a fist in- comb wrecked. No problem since chicken netting to all. Now supervision improved :hurray:
 

clare 

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Ah...and there was me thinking a WBC would provide better protection. Plenty of woodpeckers of all sorts in the garden so probably better get some wire mesh ready!
 

whizzwheels 

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Reguarly have a woodpecker feeding on bird food in the front of the garden but either doesn't know about or bother with the hive in the back garden.
Didn't bother with any protection from woodpeckers last year and have no plans for this year either.
 

rae 

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We have a stack of woodpeckers, green and spotted ones, probably more woodpeckers than blackbirds. One of them took out a neighbours WBC - a cricket ball sized hole straight through the roof, the hive was pretty much destroyed inside. They had a few pecks at ours, but never got through. After the first attack, I welded up some 1" weldmesh cages to drop over the hives as the frosts start.
 

DorsetB 

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Just our of curiosity, are they more/less likely to bore into polystyrene hives than wooden ones?
 

oliver90owner 

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Once they learn that polystyrene is softer than wood, given the choice, yes.

But there are far more wooden hives than ployhives in the UK, so no.

Which answer were you looking for?

RAB
 

DorsetB 

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Thanks for that.

I wasn't looking for any particular answer, I was looking hear from anyone who might confirm or deny that they have suffered more or less damage if they had poly hives.

The thought occurred because yesterday I was lining the inside of my hive roofs with polystyrene, and having left one out before going to lunch, I found all my chickens had pecked it right out, and had to start again. This was the low density stuff, and I know from my mini-nucs that the hive stuff is much denser, but still softer than wood.

I am currently considering changing over to poly hives and have seen and heard woodepeckers in the woods behind my garden, so need to consider this as a possible problem.

Nothing some "dumbells" made from chicken wire can't sort out if necessary! (but more hassle, and something else to think of). I suppose the air rifle might come out if it has to, or are they protected?
 
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