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At what point can I feel fairly confident in removing the mousegaurd and not risk having an unwanted visitor....night temps above 32??

Thanks,
Chris
 

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Why remove it at all? I'm assuming you're using the perforated metal mouse guard. If so, you can leave it on year round.
 

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If the queen has been laying well for the last 4-6 weeks or so, the population should be building up now. As it gets warmer, more bees will be leaving the cluster and patrolling the hive to repel intruders.

I use the guards with the 4-5 inch slot, not the one with holes. My bees always use the upper entrance in early spring. I remove the mouse guards when it's warm enough to completly get into the hive and clean the bottom boards; during the last week of March or first week of April. Fortunately, most of the mice are off on their own finding natural dens, and not particularly looking for a warm place to spend the night,.or winter, like a beehive.
 

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A question for the woodworkers:

Can mice be deterred by using a wood harder than pine or cedar for the entrance reducer? I'm thinking oak in particular, cuz I've got tons of it.
 

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Probably, although they might gnaw through if they want to get in badly enough.

I like the stainless steel ones for that very reason.
 

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I use a small piece of lath for ea. hive. The bees actually tell me when to take them off. How? They start gnawing on the ends and where the slot has been sawed and screened. Their gnawing produces a yellow secretion (to soften the wood?) which is highly visible. At that point they are taken off, usually early April but they will indicate to me the proper time. Of course, if you use metal it will probably be different. OMTCW
 

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Mine aren't coming off for at least a month.

I've never had a mouse chew it's way into a pine hive, if they have a 3/8" opening for the entrance I don't use a mouse guard.
 
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