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Discussion Starter #1
I took a peek at my hives this morning (35F partly sunny) and found one with the mouse guard knocked off. A thick pile of dead bees and wax farfel was on the front porch. I cracked it open and sure enough, a big fat pregnant mouse had set up shop.

The threat has been permanently eliminated and I took out the nest, but now I'm down to about a frame full of bees, although I'm not sure whether the queen survived. There's plenty of honey. This was a smallish hive to start with housed in a single deep, but a couple of weeks ago I had a grapefruit sized cluster. Now most of those bees are dead and chewed up on the bottom board.

So I like this colony but I fear it is not going to make it to spring. Are they likely to even survive the disruption they already suffered from my removing frames to capture the mouse and remove the nest? I'm thinking of transferring to a four frame nuc so they have less space to heat and keeping them somewhere a little more sheltered like a covered porch. Any suggestions?

BTW this is my fourth mouse attack in my short beekeeping career and it seems to me that the mice do more damage by eating bees than eating honey/pollen or comb destruction. Also it seems that the more docile colonies are more prone to mouse damage. I have a slightly more defensive colony that sent a mouse packing on their own.
 

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one frame of bees would go well in an observation hive. doubtfull they have any hope otherwise. good luck,mike
 

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i know the feeling ..... mice suck..
im sorry that you are down to a frame thats really bad new this time of year -
if it was warmer id give you a heads up to nuc them with frames of pollen and honey and let them go at er

but with no easy way to keep them warm or to have them have fresh pollen its hard to get them to recover.

ive tried the O hive but found it very disapointing to see the numbers just fade way everyday - even with the queen laying about 20-30 eggs a day - they just couldnt get pollen to feed the larva and they ended there life with chill brood due to the lack of bees - even in my house at 70F

better to cut the loss and learn from this last year and maybe make your hives a little high off of the ground also might try mounting the hive on a pole with an upside down funnel of sheet metal - like the squirrel stops they make for bird feeders

also try screwing the mouse goard on to the hive

best of luck this year --
 

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I feel yor pain. A thought for you. On one of the other boards Someone rig a two christmas lights to gether to ad a little bit of heat and reports of good things. Mainly the Queen right down to the bottom of the hive laying head away. I have one hive at the house that I rig this way. Last week end Two lights 1" tee and a 6' exstion cord with the female end cut off. I might have $ 2.50 in it
 

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Hey bot, a couple suggestions. Vermin mark a possible nesting site w/ urine in the summer so they can find it when it's time to get cozy, when you install the mouse guards throw some soiled kitty litter around (I use bobcat or coyote urine for mice up to skunks on my condo accounts and it works great).
I read that reversing the bottom board when you do the last hive insp to the 3/8" side helps also (makes it more trouble than it worth?), I tried it w/o a mouse guard just for yuks and I didn't have any problems, but it's my first winter too . I'm thinking I'm north far enough I'm going to leave it 3/8".
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for the suggestions. I had thought of an observation hive, but I don't have one handy. I hadn't thought of external heat and that helped me to come up with a possible solution.



The guard was a strip of 1/4 hardware cloth tucked into the entrance. I suppose I might have accidentally moved it a bit while I was taking samples for mite testing. This came from a stack of little hives containing four separate colonies: a double nuc and two deeps. This colony was in a deep on top so it got moved a couple of times to get access to the rest but I don't think I knocked it off completely, it probably just found gap on the end and pushed it out. Nonetheless a couple of staples or screws seems to be in order.

So the solution I went with is bee-powered external heat. The double nuc contains one colony I was planning on requeening anyway. I moved them into a single nuc on top of another hive with a blanket draped over them. If they make it I'll requeen, if not, no big deal. I then moved the mousey colony (the queen did survive) into the double nuc where they can enjoy the heat of their more robust neighbors. We'll see what happens. Hopefully stupid mistakes will diminish with experience.

I've heard cat pee keeps away bears too.
 
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