I believe I have a skunk scratching around my hive. Is there a way to discourage this creature before it does any damage? Any help would be much appreciated.
on the landing board front I use strips of wood with carpet nails sharp points out. This gives the skunk a sore paw an it soon learns to leave the hive alone. I also have all hives on an 18 inch stand to discorage all varments
just South of Lansing Michigan
I've decided to close all my bottom entrances and put a migratory cover on with a 1/4" strip on three sides to make a top entrance. I've lost a lot of bees to skunks and possums, and in the winter to mice.
Another solution is to put something flat in front of the hive. The skunks like to roll the bees in the dirt or grass to remove the stingers. If you put a flagstone or even a board there, it messes up their methods.
Other solutions, are the apriegg (an egg with the end removed and three asprin inside). Or a .22 long rifle. I don't know about everywhere else, but you should be aware that a civet (spotted skunk) is protected some places. Check your laws before shooting them.
>I've decided to close all my bottom entrances and put a migratory cover on with a 1/4" strip on three sides to make a top entrance. I've lost a lot of bees to skunks and possums, and in the winter to mice.
I have been using top entrances on most of my hives, six of them have no bottom entrances. When I put a swarm into a top entrance only hive they have no problem adjusting. I had some adverse reactions removing the bottom from an existing hive and suddenly giving them a top entrance only, to the point that I gave two of them the bottom entrance back. They just could not find a way in, so on the second day I gave in and gave it back to them.
One observation is that the bees have a tendency to keep moving up. If you don't reverse the empty bottoms up, they will eventully move down, but in the winter they have a tendency to move up faster.
On two of my top entrance only hives I have the bottom cleanout trays that came in the kit. I keep these two in my back yard and monitor them regularly. On these two one keeps a cleaner bottom than the other, but neither keeps the bottom clean. I surmize that it is just too much work to drag the dead and other debris all the way up and out of the hive. If you do not have the clean out trays, I would recomend that you at least keep a minimum bottom opening (3/8 X 3/4)just for the ease of the bees to clean out the hive even if you are using a SBB.
If you don't mind the smell a .22 will take care of things. Aim for the head and it might not spray. You can box trap the critter too. If you cover the trap with cardboard it won't spray you, just don't let it see you. No REALLY, don't let it see you. I have found the if you then dunk the whole trap into a lake or drum of water it won't spray, almost never anyways. If you are in town then you are kinda in a pinch. Maybe the hardware cloth trick I have read about? Good luck and if you need a stink remover recipe I have one.
Thanks for the help. I'll try the board. The little bugger keeps removing entrance reducer. Does not seen to be bothered by carpet tack.