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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Liberty, Maine
    Posts
    197

    Default Entrance Reducer partially removed

    Went out to the bee yard today to give things a quick check and brush the snow of the entrances.

    One colony had the entrance reducer almost falling out. It was only caught on one corner, kind of like a door on a hing with the door being wide open. When installed that bugger I had to tap it into place, I guess it dried out some and now is easy to pull out.

    Anyone ever have this happen before? I'm wondering if a mouse did it some how do it? I guess the wind might have gotten a hold of it too, just kind of odd.

    The bad news is that the cluster was in the bottom deep and we had a very cold weekend (-20F or better for a few nights) and got to a bunch of the bees. I dug out a least a cup and a half of them out before I reinstalled the reducer. I could hear them buzzing away inside and they had started cleaning up the mess them selves as there were dead bees scatted about. I just hope they're strong enough to make it through the winter now.

    Anyway, what do you folks do when you think you might have a mouse? Obviously the only way to tell for sure is to break it down and look but we're not going to have that kind of weather for a while.

    Sorry for being so long winded, I've never had something happen like this before.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Snowmass, Colorado, USA
    Posts
    2,497

    Default

    If you can hear them buzzing inside and they have enough to clean house they should be fine. The trick is that they have enough to keep the cluster warm enough for the rest of the winter. If they do they they will be ok..if not they are going to die. Unfortunately there isn't much you can do about it at this point except make sure they have enough feed till spring.
    Life is tough, but it's tougher when you're stupid. John Wayne

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Location
    Mason, MI, USA
    Posts
    1,015

    Default

    Sounds like a mouse has gotten in. Probably before you put in the reducer. Or possibly a Raccoon may have removed it. At this time you can only replace the reducer but if it comes out again you have a mouse in residence. The bees may kill it but you probably will need to replace several frames of damaged comb this spring when the bees fly.
    Clint
    Clinton Bemrose<br />just South of Lansing Michigan<br />Beekeeping since 1964

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Cooperstown,N.Y.
    Posts
    474

    Default

    Hi Kopeck
    Yeah I find them pulled out sometimes, I usually blame a skunk, been kind'a cold for them around these parts lately though.

    Did you see any tracks?
    I'd try to trap the varmit...

    I doubt the fact the cleat was out will make much of an impact. Some dead bees on the bottom is pretty normal.
    We have somewhat similar climates, and I know some guys who don't use reducers at all, and others who just use hardware cloth for a mouse guard. I don't, but they have been doing it that way a long time.

    Lets all hope for a Janurary thaw.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Liberty, Maine
    Posts
    197

    Default

    Thanks for the info.

    They were moving out the dead, either today our yesterday as we have fresh snow.

    I highly doubt there was a mouse in there when I installed the reducer. I would have noticed it, plus I start with the reducer (in a more open position) pretty early. I've found that with the screen bottom boards you can get away with it.

    You know...there was the sent of skunk around. I didn't think much of it since I knew one sprayed in late fall but that should have warn off by now. Seems to cold for them though, they don't like cold, especially the kind of cold we've had recently.

    K

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Pepperell, MA.
    Posts
    3,765

    Default

    Probably a skunk....maybe a woodpecker. In the winter, I replace my reducers with a length of wood slightly less than the width of the hive. Say, 13" long. The height of the wood is the same height as the opening. When I put that on, it leaves about 3" for the bees to come in and out. Over that, I put a mouse guard and screw it in place. The guard won't pull out and the wood acts as a wind break. On warmish winter days, the full height opening allows the undertakers to easily drag out bodies (without the full height, I've had dead bees pile up inside the hive...essentially locking the girls inside).
    "My wife always wanted girls. Just not thousands and thousands of them......"

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