Mouse Guards on!


Step two of winter prep is to place mouse guards on the entrances of the hives. I chose to wait until it was getting cold at night (low 40s, high 30s) before doing this. I decided to leave the entrances open on all three hives this year and just staple 1/2" hardware cloth over the entire entrance. I have noticed on both long hives that the bees have built up significant propolis in the entrance, so I feel that will restrict the entrance enough for them over the winter. Besides that, I have a nice windbreak fence on the north and west sides of the apiary and they are protected from the prevailing winter winds. The reason for the timing is to cause the least restriction for the bees, but to put the guards on when they are still active at the entrance so mice will be deterred from entering. Putting guards on too early restricts the bees too much, but waiting too long allows the mice to get into the hive and set up housekeeping before you put the guards on, which then traps them inside the hive, which is not ideal. I put the mouse guards on around September 22nd or 23rd. I go by seasonal cues, not dates when determining the timing for these tasks. The last thing I will do for winter is to add insulation to the two single walled hives and add towels or blankets to absorb moisture in the top. The tan long hive is double walled and has an insulated roof, so it is all set for winter as it is. We will do the winter prep during the October field day on October 8, 2022.

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