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How do you prevent mice from getting in the hives during the winter? I did a thorough inspection of my 5 remaining hives today. Things look great other than a substantial amount of damage to comb in 2 of the 5 hives. I removed 4 frames in one hive and 3 in another and replaced with drawn comb. I'm guessing restricting the entrance would be an obvious advantage, but what other things help? My hives are in the middle of a pasture. No tree lines around and not a whole lot of deep vegetation. The area where my hives are, is a retired heavy use feeding area, where cattle were fed hay. It is a limestone gravel pad. Bermuda grass does grow on the gravel pad and it is covered in dormant bermuda that is 8-10" tall. I'm sure keeping that cut closer would help with mice also.

So, other than reducing the entrance and keeping the grass cut shorter is there anything else to do?
 

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Thanks for the info, I didn't know there were such things. I will give them a try next fall.
 

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Mice (probably white-footed, or deer mice where I am) have been trying to get into my hives all winter. My entrances are securely closed, though. I'm in the north so, of course, I have much-reduced entrances to avoid cold, but even those have mouse guards on them. I see mouse poop on the front entrance boards fairly frequently and a hand lens shows they have tried to scratch their way in. My upper entrances are closed with #8 screen (on the outside of the hive box) under a small piece of corrugated cardboard that I use for low-tech entrance reducer. The mice spent a futile couple of weeks tryng to figure out how to get in there, too. (I finally added a wider mouse-proof cage around the upper entrances to keep them from destroying the cardboard and exposing the bees to cold.)

Mice (at least mine do) like to eat dead bees, so I try to police up the immediate area around the hives during the winter since the morgue bees don't waste much energy carrying the dead far afield.

Up here (northern NY) mouse guards are pretty much always necessary as mice get very desperate for shelter in our cold climate. The most basic level is just a 90-degree folded piece of half-inch mesh hardware cloth placed in front of the bottom entrance area and kept in place with several large thumb tacks really smashed down with a hive tool. I suppose you could also staple it down, but that would do more damage to the wood as one opens up the guards from time to time every winter. I have (so far, at least) frustrated my determined mice with three thumb tacks and two push pins holding the mouse guard in place. (Mine have tricky sliding panels, which I hold closed with the push pins, but if I had the plain jane ones, I'd probably just need one more thumb tack and be good to go.)

Enj.
 

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Mice (at least mine do) like to eat dead bees, so I try to police up the immediate area around the hives during the winter since the morgue bees don't waste much energy carrying the dead far afield.
I have two questions in regard to the above quote: 1) Will they pick on the live bees, too, if they are in cluster and slow? 2) Will mice eat the patties?

The reason I ask is I made a mistake with my entrance reducers and the mice got into my hives over winter. Two hives that were lost had mouse droppings on the bars at the top of the hives (in addition to a great deal of damage to the wax below). These two hives both had small clusters that starved. All their emergency food was gone (dry sugar and patties) and there were little piles of wings. So, it brought the above questions to mind.

Mouse guards next year for sure! And, am going to play with upper entrances, too!
 

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>Michael, how does that help? I know mice can climb a hive body.

I have never seen a mouse get into a live top entrance hive. I can only speculte on why, but my guess is they would have to climb up and in and down through the cluster to get to the bottom where they like to nest. Everytime they want in or out.
 
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