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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
After a week of below zero actual Temps and howling winds, the weather broke and was able to do my first winter inspection. It's a balmy 57 degrees here in western NY in February .

I was expecting my hives to be blown over, but both were still standing . And bees flying everywhere from one,..but the other showed no signs of life.

After cracking it open the smell of urine and wet bedding hit me. Not a single bee was left. I sealed the entrance ( so I thought) from mice. This is my first year beekeeping, and lesson ed learned.

Question...can I let my other hive clean off the frames in spring before I disinfect them, or is that not recommended due to any contamination from the mice?
 

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I wouldnt , unkown what disease the mice brought that killed off the bees...do you have any amount of dead bees in the hive? if so send them out to usda in beltsville for a free inspection on what really killed them..
 

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It was a family of mice,..at least 4,...all alive when I opened it up. Most if the honeycomb was gone. Just a small amount of fondent left. This was the stronger of me 2 hives. Rookie mistake not sealing entrance better.
 

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I realize that this is a very old topic from 2019 but my bees don't get bothered by mice. The mice around here were way to busy eating the wires on my horse trailer and pick-up truck.
However, I took my wood entrance reducer and stapled a strip of 1/2 inch hardware cloth in front of the entrance, hoping to keep the mice out. I am thinking this size will allow the bees to carry out the dead bees and still keep the mice out. Cross fingers!
 

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It has been said more that once that the bees will not touch gear with mouse pee.
OP You may have to discard that gear.
Bleach and pressure wash may make them useable, put them out in the sun to air out for a spell before trying to re-use.

1/2" hardware cloth should stop the mice, to be sure use #8 screen and a 3/8" tall entrance.
The mice may be small enough to squeeze through 1/2" screen.
 
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Usually, mice have already found a home before the weather turns really cold for them but here in Ohio our weather has been anything but brutal cold so just maybe mice are finding some exercise time and could easily relocate. Worried about my wood entrance reducer with my 1/2" hardware cloth stapled to the entrance,I pulled it yesterday and replaced it with a commercially made metal mouse guard with 3/8 inch round holes. It is easy to just slide it up and scrape out any dead bees from time to time.
 

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I got some sheet metal mouseguards from Dadant once, but I have only used them once, because having recruited a very efficient feral cat 4 or 5 years ago, I haven't needed them. Didn't need before then, my hives sit high on a pipestand, but seemed like a good idea when I ordered
 

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Lucky stiff ! All my cats are to lazy to hunt down mice. Reminds me of a very true episode that happened to me about 1995. When I walked into the main part of the horse barn to feed, I seen about 10 feral cats that have been hanging around the place. Funny how people just seem to know where to drop of their unwanted cats. Anyhow, the cats were all laying around in one big circle, staying warm when a mouse ran right through their circle. Lol, not one cat went after that mouse. They just watched.
One of my neighbors who is a beekeeper is against mouse guards of any type. His only argument is that the bees can't remove the dead bees in the hive when they need to clean them out, so the dead bees just build up to where they close of the entrance. I am surrounded by fields and woods and I have been victim to what deer mice can destroy. It cost me one 1993 Ford pick-up, Horse trailer wiring, and three ATV's wiring and just recently, my Dodge Ram's wiring.
Somebody told me to set out Irish Spring soap under the hoods and anywhere I didn't want mice. I thought that worked for a while until I found where the darn things ate the soap. I now have laundry dryer sheets stuck in the battery compartments and air cleaners of the ATV's. The mice loved to go after the wiring in the fuse compartments. The dryer sheets seem to help.
 

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I feed once a day in the morning so the Tortie hopefully doesn't hunt birds. What I have found to deter rats is peppermint oil. I can hear them in the wall behind my bathroom sink if they come in thru a under siding hole in my back wall. I put in a couple drops of peppermint oil where there is a little gap next to a pipe and the rats leave. I try to have my dogs outside when this occurs, I can usually end up with 2 dead rats in about 5 minutes. Doesn't last terribly long. Other good rat deterrent is a spray from Home Depot called Critter Ridder. Don't use either of these in the beehive, obviously
 

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I feed once a day in the morning so the Tortie hopefully doesn't hunt birds. What I have found to deter rats is peppermint oil. I can hear them in the wall behind my bathroom sink if they come in thru a under siding hole in my back wall. I put in a couple drops of peppermint oil where there is a little gap next to a pipe and the rats leave. I try to have my dogs outside when this occurs, I can usually end up with 2 dead rats in about 5 minutes. Doesn't last terribly long. Other good rat deterrent is a spray from Home Depot called Critter Ridder. Don't use either of these in the beehive, obviously
Peppermint oil? I am going to have to remember that.
Coincidence, just yesterday I seen my cat in the bathroom with her nose right up against a wall by the shower. Then I heard scratching behind the wall.
 

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A rabbit wire screened entrance suffices for me, but we have no shrews here.
To stop a shrew you need a smaller screen, 3/8" openings. I don't think there is a common screen that size, so use entrance reducer.

There are many on Amazon.
 

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damn I love my entrances. Mice can't get in, bees don't crawl around on the floor ( aka refuse heap). Intruder interrogation potential split into 2 places- in wall entrance, then inside entrance- much time/ many bees before intruder could broach hive. I really think that the standard langstroth entrances are a weak point. To get into my hive you need to be not fatter than 4mm or lift the lid off. I have 2 per box, and go down to one in winter. They live all year in 2 deeps, that's 4 entrances in spring/summer/ autumn, the only time i reduce is in Winter when there's is reduced or no traffic, and when I first put up a honey super I don't leave entrances unplugged until there is enough bee presence going in and out. I've had very few SHB, never seen a yellow jacket get in- seen plenty trying, and rarely see slugs after first open up after winter. Certainly a mouse could not get in. I think they are probably quite effective in reducing robbing by other bees too. look at link for explanation, scroll down. I make my own and or build in, but concept the same (credit -Filipe Salbany)- bees enter through holes on front wall, hit baffle plate, crawl upwards* meeting many bees on route, follow interior of portal around, finally enter into hive. holes can be postioned at brood level, cold weather foragers can go straight in at cluster level, instead of crawling around the freeing bottom. Drafts cannot blow directly in. I don't know why more people don't use them.

First photo shows the view from the inside, with and without the baffle plate ( which is just drawn onto photo as my baflles were getting waterproofed at time of photo). Bees exit through the small gap at bottom of baffle plate, the other hole shows without baffle plate. The second shows entrance holes from outside- can fit cork or vent or leave open. The other pic shows Filipe salbanys original plastic entrances, from inside box.

Okay this is the last time I will mention them


* insects in an unknown place will always go up

 

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I was watching a youtube video by a gentleman that uses a 3/8 inch tall X 4 inch wide entrance on his reducer and he said mice can not go through that. What do you think because I am puzzled and have my doubts about that ?
 

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I had one hive that I think a rather large critter, maybe a porcupine ( they love to eat wood and will literally eat your house) ate..I mean the whole front of the hive on the bottom was chewed up and some of the frames chewed, it could have been a bear, but they usually knock them over and crush the hives..a few years ago in the afternoon I watched a young black bear about 5ft high and a few hundred pounds knock all my swarm traps out of the trees, that was after he already squashed the 2 empty hives I had sitting by the side of a pasture , I have tons of golden rod and a pond for water for the bees.....as of now I dont have any bees, but each spring I bait the swarm traps and hope for the best..in my area a nuc has gotten pretty pricy at $225.00 on up...so ill try catching swarms..a friend has a bunch of hives that produce good honey, so I just buy from him and we swap out veggies for honey too..
 

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I was watching a youtube video by a gentleman that uses a 3/8 inch tall X 4 inch wide entrance on his reducer and he said mice can not go through that. What do you think because I am puzzled and have my doubts about that ?
some mice have tiiiiny heads. I would not put 3/8" past them- esp younger ones. mind you, that's similar to bee space so damned if you do damned if you don't. It's pretty small. maybe check out no kill mice traps if you can find. Everyones mouse pressure is different too. I welded up a frame for my bee hive, so mice would have to shimmy up the rhs legs. on such a minimalist design, I could use horticultural glue if i wanted to but it would be a bit of a mission on concrete blocks, potentialyl $$. It lasts a long time though that sticky hort glue, i think it would stop or deter mice.
 
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