I went to check my hives at Frogmore Farm at Toller Porcorum. I was worried by all the dead badgers I see at the roadside as there is a massive sett, big enough to lose half a class of school kids in, only 50 yards from the apiary. Last year I had a hive badgered there: overturned and with a trail of frames leading down the badger track and so I made sure the wire mesh fence was pegged down to the ground and the edge concealed with a bit of old carpet.
That seems, so far, to have worked but I was disappointed to see a stack of wax debris outside one of the hives and no bees flying. They had been moused! This was a swarm that had hived itself in a stack of old kit and, as they seemed to be doing well, I didn’t disturb them too much and hadn’t realised that the floor was rotten, giving easy access to mice. The hive next door, however, was bringing in pollen at about 6 degrees C.
So far this winter I have lost 2 hives to horses, one to sheep and now this one to mice. Never mind the mites: it’s the mammals that are the problem!
The badgers remind me that I once rang the office when I was up to the armpits in a badger sett! It was on a footpath and was concealed with bracken so I wasn’t aware of it until my rapid descent.