Video: How To Protect An Apiary From Rodent Colonization Of Hives
The December issue of the magazine touched upon the problem of creating a favorable wintering for bees in an open area - in a personal plot or in some other place far from the hustle and bustle and noise. But sometimes it is impossible to foresee in advance all the unforeseen circumstances that beekeepers have to meet in real life. As I noted in a previous article, the restless behavior of bees during wintering can be caused by many different factors. Therefore, one must always take care to avoid them.
Very often small rodents cause great damage to the beekeeper. For example, in search of a warmer and more nourishing place, field mice can enter the hive, they gnaw there frames with honey and bee bread, make a nest of insulation material above the place where the wintering bee club is located, and breed offspring. The same damage can be caused by the house mouse, forest and other rodents, including rats. Sometimes, to penetrate into the hive, they gnaw a hole between the side trim of the roof and the body of the hive, also create their own nest and breed.
If you do not detect the appearance of unwanted guests in time, then by spring you can be left without a bee colony or without frames with honeycombs necessary in spring to build up a strong colony. As a rule, rodents penetrate into the hives and settle in them at the end of autumn, when the active years of the bees cease, and with the onset of cold weather they form a dense club, from which the upper strips of the hive are always warm. Such conditions inside the hive attract rodents to the wintering grounds of bees. In the fight against these pests, various means can be used, for example, mechanical - traps, traps and other devices, as well as chemical - various poisons and biological agents - infecting rodents with infectious diseases that spread only among this group of pests.
Natural remedies are also used to combat them. Good results are obtained by placing in the hive dry leaves and stems of blackroot, previously scalded with boiling water. The smell of this plant is known to scare off mice. The placement of dry seed cones of burdock in places of possible settlement of rodents also gives some effect. This method is good for controlling small rodents. Its thorns attach to the skins of the rodents, causing shock. They often die immediately afterwards. And other rodents after that are afraid to settle there.
If you find gnawed holes in the walls of the hive, you must immediately take all the necessary measures: close them up with a metal mesh or cement mortar with broken glass. And a simple filling of the formed hole with broken glass will discourage rodents from using the move made. Recently, adhesives from rodents and insects that do not freeze for a long time have appeared on sale. For example, by spreading such glue on a small space of cellophane film and installing bait inside it, I was able to catch a rat that ignored all other traps. This time, smeared with glue, she wrapped herself in a film and was in it like in a straitjacket.
Of course, these funds help in the fight against rodents, but the main thing is to notice their attempts to enter the hive in time. The appearance of alien cats in the apiary area can serve as a kind of signal for a possible invasion of rodents. In no case should they be scared away from this territory. Perhaps these animals were abandoned by summer residents who left for the city, who forgot about the responsibility to be responsible for those whom they tamed. So the animals are forced to get their own food. Let their prey be rodents who want to settle in the hives.
We all know what benefits birds bring to garden plants in protecting crops from pests. These undoubtedly include the tits. They do not fly south to winter, and can often be seen in gardens in winter. Tits are busy looking for insect pests hiding for the winter. Alas, sometimes they can be harmful to beekeepers. The fact is that recent winters are characterized by an abundance of snow lying in the gardens until midwinter. But at the same time, sometimes in winter - in January-February - there are sharp warming. And then, at above-zero temperatures, bright sunlight and calmness, an early flight of bees wintering in open areas occurs. Not only the beekeeper who found himself in the apiary pays attention to this event, but also the tits. In summer, they do not pay attention to bees, because at this time they have a lot of food, but in winter there are no insects,and the tits may well turn their attention to the bees. I have seen the following picture: on such warm days, a quick-witted titmouse flies up to the entrance and begins to bang its beak on the wall of the hive. Bees are excited by this noise, and then solitary insects leave the entrance. The titmouse grabs the bee and flies with it to some tree in order to calmly eat it. And then everything repeats itself. When this behavior of the tit turns into the only source of food due to overexcitation and destruction of a large number of worker bees, the damage to the beekeeper can be great. The titmouse grabs the bee and flies with it to some tree in order to calmly eat it. And then everything repeats itself. When this behavior of the tit turns into the only source of food due to overexcitation and destruction of a large number of worker bees, the damage to the beekeeper can be great. The titmouse grabs the bee and flies with it to some tree in order to calmly eat it. And then everything repeats itself. When this behavior of the tit turns into the only source of food due to overexcitation and destruction of a large number of worker bees, the damage to the beekeeper can be great.
The simplest thing that you can think of here, in order to avoid losses, is to cover the entrances with spruce branches or special tabs that prevent the formation of ice jams and disorienting birds after a massive flight of bees.
But, in my opinion, the most effective and humane action of the beekeeper is to distract the birds from the hives and from this method of obtaining food for themselves. This can be achieved in one way: place feeders with food for tits at a distance from the apiary. And constantly replenish its stocks. If the tits are well fed, they will have no desire to hunt the bees that fly out on warm days. If you do not have the opportunity to periodically check the condition of the bees hibernating in the wild, you can install special long-acting feeders. You can also hang pieces of unsalted bacon from the trees in your garden. Then the titmouses will certainly have no desire to fly up to the hives. After all, they will have a reliable source of food.
In this way, you will not only protect your bee colonies from unnecessary anxiety, but also attract useful birds to your gardens and the immediate vicinity, which will protect your garden from pests from spring to autumn. And your garden will bloom in full force. And a lushly blooming garden is the well-being of your bees. And not only. If the birds protect the gardens, you and your neighbors will not have to use chemical protection for fruit trees and shrubs. And you will get an environmentally friendly harvest of apples, gooseberries, currants, raspberries. On long autumn and winter evenings, the amateur beekeeper has the opportunity in a more relaxed atmosphere to sort out the issues that he has accumulated as a result of communication with bees, while caring for them.
We often hear various fables about the impact of our civilization on the beekeeping industry. As a rule, these speculations arise through the fault of the people themselves, who made certain mistakes in their work and do not want to admit them. It is worth remembering the forest fires that destroyed trees on many thousands of hectares. Of course, they also arise from lightning during a thunderstorm. But most often they are guilty of a person who threw a cigarette butt, did not put out the fire. Fires also occur because of thrown or broken glass containers, which played the role of a magnifying glass. And remember the thoughtless, completely unnecessary burning of last year's grass in the spring!
Any fire is a disaster for humans, but especially for the inhabitants of forests, peat bogs and fields. Indeed, a huge number of beneficial insects, birds, the simplest living organisms, mushrooms, necessary for the harmonious development of nature, die in the fire. Therefore, every amateur beekeeper must defend his legal rights to decent maintenance of a honey bee, and he must protect nature in the area where he lives. If, however, forest fires nevertheless happened in your area in the past years, then we must remember that thickets of fireweed, raspberries and other melliferous plants will soon grow at the places of the fires. In this case, it is worth considering how to derive benefit even from the disaster that has happened. A caring beekeeper himself must strictly observe ecological techniques and methods of running his economy, and at the same time, he must explain to all neighbors, summer residents,that it is unacceptable to use pesticides uncontrollably in private gardens. By the way, remember that it can harm your bees too.