Tuesday, 18 October 2016


Pretty much the very last task of the beekeeping year is mouse-proofing the hives.  Surprisingly, mice quite like to nest in beehives during winter, because it's nice and warm, and there is plenty of food (i.e. honey and wax) for them to eat.  Personally, I'd rather not snuggle down with 10,000 stingy insects, but mice are apparently prepared to take the risk.  Actually, once the weather gets cold the bees won't be moving round very much, so if the mouse finds a cosy corner it will probably get through the winter undisturbed.

There are certainly mice around - our cat, Patsy brings us the proof, from time to time!  And if a mouse got into one of my hives, it would almost certainly be the end of the colony, as it would eat too much of the bees' precious stores of honey.

So, I need to put a device called a "mouse-guard" (beekeepers are very utilitarian in their terms) onto the front of the hive.  It's basically a perforated metal strip, with each of the holes large enough to allow a bee through.  The ones I'm putting on the hive today look like this:

The design of the WBC Hive is very convenient, because it allows for the mouse guards to be inserted into the porch, and held in place by the sliding blocks that are normally used to control the size of the entrance.  It's easier to show it in a couple of photos:

So, with the mouse-guards in place, the bees are well-protected as they start to bed down for the winter.  The mice will just have to find somewhere else to make their nests!

Thursday, 13 October 2016

Asian Hornet - Update

The good news - the Asian Hornet found near Tetbury has been tracked back to its nest, and the nest has been destroyed.  The bad news - another confirmed sighting north of the Mendip Hills at the beginning of October (and the nest not found, yet).  This puts Bath pretty much between the two confirmed sightings.

So, it's time to take some action.  I'm going to make a trap.  DEFRA and the National Bee Unit have helpfully provided instructions for constructing a home-made Asian Hornet trap out of two 2-litre fizzy drinks bottles, steel mesh and some wire.  I have my kit ready:

So, all I have to do is finish drinking the lemonade, and get busy!

Hopefully, there aren't any more Asian Hornets and my trap will stay empty.  But if I do get one, then it will need to go off to DEFRA for confirmation and analysis.  Fingers crossed it won't come to that...