No, that’s not the type of Mouse Guard I’m talking about, although they might come in handy as well!
A Mouse Guard is a handy metal device that prevents the Mouse Family from taking up residence in your hive. Mice are bad house guests and make a huge mess. They build nests by eating part of the comb of several frames and filling the holes with grass.
In early fall, mice will enter a hive and mark it with their scent. Once a hive is marked, the mice will return in late fall and hide out until winter. Mice can fit into the large hole of a standard entrance reducer. Small mice can fit into holes the size of a dime.
If you check your bottom board during the winter and find a large number of wings and legs, there is a good chance you have a mouse. If temperatures are extremely low, you may not be able to remove the mouse until spring.
A Mouse Guard is essential if your hives aren’t on the roof. Well, maybe you need one on the roof, too…
You can buy a mouse guard from any beekeeping supplier, or you can make your own.
I ordered my Mouse Guard from Mann Lake. It cost $4.95.
If you want to make your own Mouse Guard, simply cut hardware cloth (metal screen) the width of your entrance and about 7″ tall.
Cut one of the 7″ sides smooth. This will be the bottom. Cut the other side with the small metal bits sticking out. They are sharp, so watch out.
Bend the metal screen into a U, about 3″ from the smooth side. Angle the top spikes facing up, about an inch in from the end.
Mouse Guard Side View
Insert the guard into your hive with the exposed sharp points sticking up. It should be a tight fit, but not dig into the wood.
Mice will not be able to pass through the metal screen, but your bees will. The sharp points on the top will help keep skunks and other pests away.
- Darlington Mouse Guard & hive entrance reducer (wallacefamilyapiary.wordpress.com)