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This is my 1st year and I have one hive. As the weather has gotten colder I am finding more and more bees dead in front of the hive. It was just a handful starting about a month ago and now it seems like a couple hundred dead in front on the ground. Also, I put some 1/4 inch hardware cloth on as a mouse guard late last night and tonight it is clogged with dead bees like maybe 15 or so (reducer is on to the 3 inch opening). I peeked under the top and there are still lots of bees even on top of the inner cover. Do I have a problem or is this normal for them to do to get ready for winter. We are getting down to 35 at night and 55 during the day
 

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Thank you Michael! Is my home made mouse guard ok, or am I going to need to clean the dead bees out regularly? I have a little notch on the top entrance of the inner cover but will that be enough if the bottom gets really clogged? They still fly somewhat on warmer days if its sunny.
 

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The mouseguard won't be a problem as long as the bees are able to get in and out. My entrances are raised an inch or two above the hive floor, and can't be clogged. I find that dead bees build up over winter, and if I leave them, they're removed the following summer once there are 'spare' bees available. The bodies are torn apart and the bits end up under the mesh bottoms.

[ October 21, 2006, 04:09 AM: Message edited by: Robert Brenchley ]
 

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Make sure they aren't all drones. The strongest of my four hives had a pile of bees (at least two handfulls) on the ground three days ago and my first thought was robbing. Upon closer examination 100% of the pile was drone. Many were obviously undeveloped and it appears the girls just went on a rampage and in the space of one day eliminated every drone in the hive....hatched or unhatched.
 

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My girls were also tossing there drones out of one of my hive... It was funney... They would drag them out...
some would fly up and then land back on the front and go back in.... only to be draged back out....
They did this for a wile....but then they just went next door to a small NUC that I have beside this hive and go in with no problems.... he he he

Now all the MEN are in the NUC.....???? That NUC must be the Huntting Club.... That is were us men go this time of year anyway....

Ya I'll show them dang ole girls.... toss me out will ya...
He He He....
 

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> Is my home made mouse guard ok

Yes. 1/4" hardware cloth is exactly what I've used for mouse gaurds for years, until I went to top entrances and quit needing them.

> or am I going to need to clean the dead bees out regularly?

I would ALWAYS make sure there is at least a small top entance. Mouse gaurd or not, dead bees can accumulate and stop up the bottom entrance. A notched inner cover will do for a top entrance or whatever is simple with the equipment you have.
 

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They will use the upper ventilation hole if the bottom gets clogged. On real cold days I have removed the bottom mouse guard and pulled out the dead bees I made a tool using a ¼ dowel rod and a wood strip ½ x1/2 x3. saves the bees a lot of work when the weather warms up.
 
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