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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Frederick, MD, USA
    Posts
    13

    Default skunks, top entrance, top feeder?

    I had a skunk eating my bees until I modified my hives for a top entrance. Now I need to give them a fall feeding.

    I actually have it all ready to go in top feeders, only now I just realized I didn't plan on how to use a top feeder and a top entrance at the same time.

    I read that a top entrance with a top feeder encourages robbing. And the way I put in the top entrance doesn't allow me to neatly stack the top feeder onto it.

    So... what do I do? I'm nervous that opening the bottom entrance again will invite the skunk back.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Massillon, Ohio
    Posts
    3,295

    Default Re: skunks, top entrance, top feeder?

    If you have an inner cover put it between the top box and the feeder, with the notch facing down which they will use as their entrance. Put your outer cover on top of the feeder and seal it off temporarily while you are feeding so no bees can get in. Duct tape works well.
    To everything there is a season....

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Iona, Idaho, USA
    Posts
    76

    Default Re: skunks, top entrance, top feeder?

    Some will drill a hole in their box to create a new opening or vent. I kind of hate putting holes in my boxes.

    I believe that some will make a shim about 3/4" and drill a hole in that to create a opening wherever they want to put it. That would work like the top cover idea, but you would not have the cover part of it to make a division in the hive so you could have it between boxes.

    That may mess with bee space so you may get a little wonky comb between the boxes doing that.


    Clay

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Elmira, NY
    Posts
    947

    Default Re: skunks, top entrance, top feeder?

    Concerning robbing:

    If you use the notched inner cover as a top entrance and place it above the feeder, you are inviting robbing.

    I suggest making a 3/8" shim that fits between the feeder and your topbox, with a space an inch or three wide as an entrance.
    For a robbing screen, cut a piece of window screen a three or four inches wider than your new top entrance.

    Lay the bottom of the screen between the shim and top box, then put your feeder on top of the shim.

    Then fold the screen up, leaving space for the bees to go out the sides of the screen after coming out the top entrance, and duct tape or staple it to the front face of the feeder.

    This is simple, effective, and very inexpensive.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Lemont, Il U.S.A.
    Posts
    106

    Default Re: skunks, top entrance, top feeder?

    Get your hive a foot off the ground. No more skunk problems. Open your bottom entrance again. Feed as you wish. Live happily ever after.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Massillon, Ohio
    Posts
    3,295

    Default Re: skunks, top entrance, top feeder?

    Skunks are 13"-18" long, excluding the tail. What's to stop them from raising up and smashing bees on the bottom board if it's only raised 12"?
    To everything there is a season....

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    McClure, OH
    Posts
    978

    Default Re: skunks, top entrance, top feeder?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Gillmore View Post
    Skunks are 13"-18" long, excluding the tail. What's to stop them from raising up and smashing bees on the bottom board if it's only raised 12"?
    They don't like to stand up as it exposes the belly for stings.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Massillon, Ohio
    Posts
    3,295

    Default Re: skunks, top entrance, top feeder?

    I thought the same thing so I put my hives on double stacked cinder blocks. Didn't stop them, they continued to snack all night on my bees. Switching to top entrances solved my problem. Guess it's not for everyone, but it works for me.
    To everything there is a season....

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    McClure, OH
    Posts
    978

    Default Re: skunks, top entrance, top feeder?

    Same setup here - they were snacking on them when they were on 1 block, so I raised them to 2 - seems to work so far. Mine are on 2x4s that rest on the blocks.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Massillon, Ohio
    Posts
    3,295

    Default Re: skunks, top entrance, top feeder?

    Could be other critters as well, possums come to mind.
    To everything there is a season....

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Jefferson Co, TX
    Posts
    444

    Default Re: skunks, top entrance, top feeder?

    CB caps from a bolt action .22 work wonders on skunks, raccoons, and squirrels. Likely opossums as well. Quite and effective. On a wet evening they work better. The noise is absorbed even more by damp conditions.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Frederick, MD, USA
    Posts
    13

    Default Re: skunks, top entrance, top feeder?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Gillmore View Post
    If you have an inner cover put it between the top box and the feeder, with the notch facing down which they will use as their entrance. Put your outer cover on top of the feeder and seal it off temporarily while you are feeding so no bees can get in. Duct tape works well.
    I did this, more or less. I should have made my top entrance this way from the beginning. My two hives have just about cleaned 30 pounds of 2:1 syrup out of my top feeders in two days. No signs of robbing. No sign of skunks. I did see a possum in my yard tonight, but hopefully it was only after my compost.

    Quote Originally Posted by stajerc61 View Post
    Live happily ever after.
    Will do.

    Thanks for the responses everyone!

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Lemont, Il U.S.A.
    Posts
    106

    Default Re: skunks, top entrance, top feeder?

    After ten years of shooting, trapping, and feeding fly bait, I built stands of 1 1/2 angle iron. They are 12" tall and stand on 24"x30" precast concrete pads. Last year I left one hive on four bricks the rest went up on the stands. The only hive that the skunks removed the bottom block from was the one close to the ground. I have observed them at dusk in my apiary and have not seen them rear up on their hind legs to date. I made forty stands and had them hot dipped galvanized. Material and galvanizing costs came to about $30 per stand. This price does not include any labor to fab the stands. I did the fab work myself. Sweat equity as they say. Anyway, no more dirty little footprints on my landing boards.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Knox Co, Ohio, USA
    Posts
    687

    Default Re: skunks, top entrance, top feeder?

    Due to skunks and striving for uniformity I have top entrances on all my hives. I have made inner covers along the lines of the Honey Run inner covers: http://www.honeyrunapiaries.com/wp-c...ason_inner.pdf

    I cut a 5x3/8 entrance in the center. I put two holes in the cover and usually have #5 hardware cloth over them.

    When it comes to feeding I either use an internal frame feeder or I use the one gal. paint can feeders inverted over the holes in the inner cover.

    To make a paint can feeder I buy new paint cans at Lowes. I put a number of holes in the lid with a nail.

    I really like the paint can feeders. They hold one gallon. I can change/refill them without opening up the hive. And, they are another idea stolen from Michael Palmer.

    Tom

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