Innovative Mouse Guard

 This innovative mouse guard was homemade. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

This innovative mouse guard was homemade. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Innovative Mouse Guard

One of the unexpected discoveries of beekeeping is that many beekeepers are engineers at heart. Although there are many beekeeping suppliers, the most interesting developments often come from clever beekeepers solving one or another issue with a hive.

This is one of those products one of our regular beekeepers shared at our last bee club meeting. It is a hive entrance reducer improved with wire to keep mice out of the hive in winter. The larger wire allows bees to go in and out but keeps the hive safe from mice.

 A small notched wood piece reduces a hive entrance. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

A small notched wood piece reduces a hive entrance. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Now this sounds simple but beekeepers have to make sure what side of the entrance the mice are on. Last summer, a beekeeping friend kept finding his entrance reducer sideways in front of his hive. Thinking some creature was trying to get in, he would replace the entrance reducer to protect the colony from possible invaders.

After a couple more times finding the entrance reducer moved, my friend opened the hive only to find a family of 8 mice had settled INSIDE the hive and were moving the entrance reducer so they could get out.

When I looked closer at the entrance reducer alterations, it was a relatively easy concept that can be made to existing entrance reducers. The trick is making the cut so that one doesn’t go all the way through the wood entrance reducer. Ask me how I know that can be challenging to a new woodworker.

The wire is the size often used in top hive feeders, wide enough for bees to move through.

 Jesse Pogue, Salem, Mo., third from left, sharing his innovative mouse guard at a Rolla Bee Club meeting. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Jesse Pogue, Salem, Mo., third from left, sharing his innovative mouse guard at a Rolla Bee Club meeting. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Seeing these ideas is one of the main reasons why beekeepers should attend monthly meetings and share their innovations. It will make us all better beekeepers!

Charlotte