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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
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    Morgan County, Indiana, USA
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    49

    Default Groundhogs and Beehives

    Will groundhogs damage beehives? I have been told many times that skunks will torment hives and eat bees and make the bees mean but I have never heard anyone say anything about groundhogs. This afternoon hubby watched a groundhog stick his nose in the entrance to one of our hives. He got a good laugh when the groundhog got stung a couple of times and quickly ran off into the woods. Do you think the critter learned his lesson or do you think he will come back? Should we trap/shoot him? What do you all think he was looking for? Could he have been after the sugar water in the entrance feeders? I can't believe I keep coming up with all of these questions. This site is great and as a newbie I certainly appreciate any and all responses I get. Thanks.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Knox County, Ohio
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    2,692

    Default Re: Groundhogs and Beehives

    Should we trap/shoot him?

    YES!!!

    Groundhogs are vegetarians usually. They eat grass, but have been known to eat the insulation from wires on tractors in barns stored overwinter. (I have no idea why they like electrical wiring insulation, but they have been known to eat it more than once.)

    Around here, they are a major nuisance. They eat crops, dig holes in fields that tear up machinery or breaks horse's legs, dig holes under buildings.

    Young ones aren't too bad to eat either.

    I would suspect nothing more than idle curiousity looking into the hive. I've never heard of a groundhog eating insects or sugar water. I saw one with an apple in its mouth once though, so maybe they like sweet stuff.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Pepperell, MA.
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    3,779

    Default Re: Groundhogs and Beehives

    My five dogs know more about groundhogs than I do. We have a family under the horse barn. They have three entrances / exits. The minute the dogs are in the house, the groundhog is in their pen. The dogs have a 60 X 75 foot area to run around in and the groundhog loves it. Now and again, I see it here and there around the yard. Never has it given me a problem around the hives. I live with it.....it lives with me. Life is good!
    "My wife always wanted girls. Just not thousands and thousands of them......"

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Erie, PA
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    2,030

    Default Re: Groundhogs and Beehives

    I've never had groundhogs mess with a hive. Frames left out to be cleaned, and forgotten overnight, have been damaged, but I suspect that was raccoons or skunks.

    As for dispatching the chucks... seriously consider it. I had 3 living over the bank. They had cute little babies. Now they are under the porch, digging up next to the stone wall, in the raspberries, in the flower bed, under the woodpile, etc. etc. They also like to crawl in vehicles left outside and chew on the wiring harness. Control the population now, while you still can.
    “The keeping of bees is like the direction of sunbeams.” -Henry David Thoreau

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Augusta County, Virginia USA
    Posts
    130

    Default Re: Groundhogs and Beehives

    Don't know about bees but apples are a treat to groundhogs. We have trapped them by putting an apple in a trap. We can't live with them because of the hole damage to the pasture which is harmful to steers as well as horses. Also they dig under fences to eat from the vegetable garden. Major damage there.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Morgan County, Indiana, USA
    Posts
    49

    Default Re: Groundhogs and Beehives

    Thanks for the replies. When hubby heard about the electrical wire chewing he made the decision to dig the coon traps out of the barn this weekend. I'm also wondering if the reason our horse has been gimpy lately is because she stepped in a groundhog hole. I guess I will be getting a bag of apples at the grocery store tonight. It's amazing the things I learn on this board that don't have anything to do with bees. You all are great. Thanks again.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Clifford Township, PA
    Posts
    2,082

    Default Re: Groundhogs and Beehives

    I have them living down on the hill and will trap them if I see them up in the garden. Otherwise, they can just go about their business. When I had my farm with a field full of them, I never had a problem with them chewing wires or deviling the bees, just with mowing the garden to the ground.

    Unless they show themselves to be a problem, I'd hold off on the trapping and killing. I've also heard of rats, mice, rabbits and, especially squirrels eating insulation off wires. I'd be trapping and killing all day if I were to worry much that possibility.

    Wayne

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Issaquah,WA,USA
    Posts
    2,426

    Default Re: Groundhogs and Beehives

    They are defiantly a nuisance for walking on solid ground around your hives. Might help attract other predators see last paragraph below to remove them.

    Introduction

    The Groundhog is a medium sized chubby animal 13-24 inches long and weighs 5-14 pounds. The groundhog is a shy reclusive animal that prefers flat, empty fields where it digs long and deep burrows and with dried leaves in its sleeping chamber. It is said that it can dig a 5-foot tunnel in a day. The Groundhog is not territorial and tends to live in loose association with other Groundhogs. It is active above ground for only an hour or two each day to sun itself and to feed on nearby foliage. It has excellent eyesight and a very nervous disposition, ready to flee to its burrow at any sign of danger. Groundhogs are good swimmers and climbers.

    Traditionally, the groundhog is supposed to awaken on February 2 and come out of his burrow. If he sees his shadow, he will return to his burrow for six more weeks of winter. If he doesn't see his shadow, he remains outside and starts his year, because he knows that spring has arrived.

    Food Habits

    Groundhogs are strictly vegetarians and eat herbaceous plants such as clover, dandelions, chickweed, golden rod, daisies, and grasses. They also nibble twigs of woody shrubs, eat garden vegetables such as beans and peas, and eat apples.

    Family Life

    Males begin to wake from hibernation January-March and begin to wander looking for females to mate, Usually each male mates with more than one female. As the birth time approaches, the female makes a nest of leaves in one chamber of her burrow system and aggressively keeps other Groundhogs away from her burrow system. The young are born March-May with an average of 4-6 in a litter. For the first 4 weeks, the young stay in the nest and are nursed. The mother also brings them fresh greens. They play with each otter and stay near their mother until about July when she drives them off. Late in the fall, they move further away and establish their own ranges.

    Winter Habits

    In July, Groundhogs begin to acquire a layer of fat that will sustain them during hibernation. They may shift from summer burrows which are more in the open to winder burrows which are in more protected shrub and wooded area. Sometimes several Ground Hogs hibernate in the same burrow.

    Threats

    The groundhog's main enemies are eagles, snakes, bears, coyotes, cats, and humans.

    Benefits


    Groundhogs are not aggressive and can be fun to watch.

    Problems and Solutions

    Groundhogs can be garden pests and can climb fences. You can buy repellent or use hot pepper spray to deter them from eating your vegetables. They also can riddle your yard with burrows that change its contour. You can purchase fox urine or fox urine scented granules to pour into burrow holes or on the area you want to protect.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Knox County, Ohio
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    2,692

    Default Re: Groundhogs and Beehives

    If you want to trap a groundhog, get a 220 Conibear trap and place it over the groundhog hole. If you have coyotes around, you may want to stake the trap to prevent coyotes from carrying away the dead groundhog and trap.

    Groundhogs are not aggressive and can be fun to watch.

    I recall when I was a child we were hauling a load of firewood on the wagon behind the tractor and a groundhog ran under the wagon as we were going down a lane. Dad stopped and all us kids jumped down and surrounded the wagon. Us kids drove it out by Dad, and the groundhog tried biting the leg of Dad's coveralls as Dad was stomping it.

    So any animal can be aggressive under the right circumstances. But I'm sure most people would have thought it hilarious to watch.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Moontownship, PA
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    81

    Default Re: Groundhogs and Beehives

    Quote Originally Posted by Countryboy View Post
    I

    So any animal can be aggressive under the right circumstances. But I'm sure most people would have thought it hilarious to watch.
    Sounds to me like your dad was the aggressor and the groundhog was defending it self.

    can your dad come over and take care of the ones eating my garden?

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Knox County, Ohio
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    2,692

    Default Re: Groundhogs and Beehives

    I'm pretty sure my Dad would use a 220 Conibear on the ones in your garden if he wanted to get rid of them.

    I got Dad a couple 220's a few years ago. Now, he gets excited if he sees a groundhog so he can go trap it.

    A local farmer told me a couple weeks ago that he had already trapped over 50 groundhogs so far this year.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Moontownship, PA
    Posts
    81

    Default Re: Groundhogs and Beehives

    I am trying to get them in a box trap to relocate them, but so far no luck. I may change my strategy in a week or so.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Cambria County, PA US
    Posts
    404

    Default Re: Groundhogs and Beehives

    Wow, that's noble, but let me warn you ahead of time that a groundhog in a trap, box, or cage is extremely mean, and they could really mess you up quite badly if they got hold of a hand or foot...I've trapped them before and it's not a friendly encounter.

    Excercise caution.
    Last edited by Bizzybee; 06-20-2009 at 01:23 PM. Reason: Unnecessary quoting
    "burr comb happens..."

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Knox County, Ohio
    Posts
    2,692

    Default Re: Groundhogs and Beehives

    220 Conibear traps work great if you want to relocate the groundhogs too. An added bonus is the groundhogs are very docile while in the trap.

    The other added bonus is a farmer won't shoot you if you relocate them onto his farm after catching them in a 220. With a live trap, you better be wearing body armor or drive a tank.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    knoxville, tn
    Posts
    647

    Default Re: Groundhogs and Beehives

    I catch them in the live traps, along with coons, skunks and squirels, they all get relocated to the job site I am woking at, usually to the city.
    Dropped a bunch of coons off in the projects once, me and my buddy always laugh and wonder what happened to them. Just some redneck fun with the city people. Skunk in a big pile of red iron is fun to watch also, them big tough iron workers will squeal like little girls. Alittle ol' crazy squirel can clear a building out too. City people are kind of funny like that.

    G3
    Last edited by Bizzybee; 06-19-2009 at 10:05 PM. Reason: language

  16. #16
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Manhattan,Montana,USA
    Posts
    358

    Default Re: Groundhogs and Beehives

    shoot em!! You guys are acting like they are your pets. you will think they are all neat and cute until they start wrecking stuff by then it is a pain go get rid of them. Here we shoot and poisen them just to keep them controlled.
    its alot of fun to take the kids gofer hunting.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Issaquah,WA,USA
    Posts
    2,426

    Default Re: Groundhogs and Beehives

    Quote Originally Posted by Countryboy View Post
    220 Conibear traps work great if you want to relocate the groundhogs too. .
    Thant sure looks like a hoot. There were other traps that I found when I Googled the 220 that looked even meaner. Nice ideas. http://www.bugspray.com/professional/conniebear.html what should I use to get rid of the black bear and coyotes that visit us.?

    Hunting would be better. I cant really use any poisons in my yard because of the family of hawks that live there. We really enjoy watching them swoop down from the tree and catch the mice running in our field. Plus when I drive the tractor I chase them and can hear them slosh around in my brush hog when I see them. The field mice pop up from the grass and sometimes do it when the brussh hog is over head and that just ruins there day. Fun fun fun on the farm,
    Last edited by EastSideBuzz; 06-20-2009 at 10:23 AM.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jul 2000
    Location
    NE Calif.
    Posts
    2,360

    Default Re: Groundhogs and Beehives

    >>220 Conibear traps work great if you want to relocate..
    Thats funny. I used to re-locate beavers with 330's.
    I have 1 beeyard with groundhogs. You should have seen the fun when both front wheels of the forklift dropped into some holes just as two pallets of bees were being lowered.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    powell wy
    Posts
    103

    Default Re: Groundhogs and Beehives

    Quote Originally Posted by G3farms View Post
    I catch them in the live traps, along with coons, skunks and squirels, they all get relocated to the job site I am woking at, usually to the city.
    Dropped a bunch of coons off in the projects once, me and my buddy always laugh and wonder what happened to them. Just some redneck fun with the city people. Skunk in a big pile of red iron is fun to watch also, them big tough iron workers will squeal like little girls. Alittle ol' crazy squirel can clear a building out too. City people are kind of funny like that.

    G3
    we had a bit of fun once while in high school. caught a bobcat on the ranch that had been working our chickens and put it in a suitcase with a few airholes. took it up to the interstate highway and left it along side the road and retreated to a dirt road about 1/4 mile away and watched it thru binoculars. wasn't long till a carload of kids from the town just north of us ( sheridan) stopped and threw it in the car and raced off. you could sure tell when they opened the suitcase car emptied right out . lucky no one was hurt after the maylay was over.
    we here in wyoming are bedeveled with " towns " of prarie dogs as well, we have no problem spending a day "snipping " them for entertainment as they can be hard on cattle as well as horses.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Moontownship, PA
    Posts
    81

    Default Re: Groundhogs and Beehives

    Quote Originally Posted by kwest View Post
    shoot em!! You guys are acting like they are your pets. you will think they are all neat and cute until they start wrecking stuff by then it is a pain go get rid of them. Here we shoot and poisen them just to keep them controlled.
    its alot of fun to take the kids gofer hunting.
    Would like to, but some of us live in places were that would not be a good idea. (police would not be to cool with it)

    Last night I dropped a "Revenge Rodent smoke bomb" down the groundhog hole, and watched the smoke come up out of that hole, and the back door hole about 10 feet away. Interesting in that this is the first smoke bomb I ever lit that the smoke went down instead of up.

    FYI, have not seen any groundhogs today, but t is still early

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