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Nurse Bee

Joined: 28 May 2010
Posts: 35
Location: UK, West Mids, Walsall, Pelsall

PostPosted: Tue Apr 01, 2014 3:33 pm    Post subject: Extra Insulation Reply with quote

Three out of five hives at my off-site apiary have made it through the winter so I thought I would have a quick look today to see how they are getting on.

There were piles of leaves under the roof, on top of the bars, along with dried grass and hazel nut shells. I don't remember putting those in!

Hang on, what's that tail shape in the centre?

...and who is that at the top, near the edge of the leaves, watching me?

Mice! Five or six of the critters made a dash for freedom while others dived into the hive and a couple of dull ones tried to hide back in the nest.

Finally cleared them all and discovered that their winter hobbies include whittling top bars and leaving little parcels of poo:

The bees didn't seem to mind the mice dashing about but weren't too happy with me sweeping up the mess so they sent out a few of the girls to insist I stop.

Quite persuasive they were and I now have the first two stings of the 2014 season.
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Silver Bee

Joined: 29 Apr 2009
Posts: 882
Location: Stoke On Trent

PostPosted: Wed Apr 02, 2014 9:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The eaves of my hives overlap the sides, the roof is full of kingspan and the kingspan sits of top of the bars, thus leaving no warm spaces for mice, or wasps, or anything apart from the odd spider. We live on the edge of woods/fields with lots of mice (our garage has occasional mice occupants though!)
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Quality Top Bar Hives by Andrew Vidler

Conserving wild bees

Research suggests that bumble bee boxes have a very low success rate in actually attracting bees into them. We find that if you create an environment where first of all you can attract mice inside, such as a pile of stones, a drystone wall, paving slabs with intentionally made cavities underneath, this will increase the success rate.

Most bumble bee species need a dry space about the size a football, with a narrow entrance tunnel approximately 2cm in diameter and 20 cm long. Most species nest underground along the base of a linear feature such as a hedge or wall. Sites need to be sheltered and out of direct sunlight.

There is a spectacular display of wild bee hotels here

More about bumblebees and solitary bees here

Information about the Tree Bumblebee (Bombus hypnorum)

Barefoot Beekeeper Podcast

Now available from

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4th Edition paperback now available from

See beekeeping books for details and links to ebook versions.