The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Mouse nest in the hive

Feeding bees

We'd get a lot more honey if we fed our bees more. But I try to use sugar water as a last resort, only feeding when the bees wouldn't have enough stores to survive without the helping hand.

Still, when I took out the bottom board of our warre hive, tried to take a photo up through the screen...and couldn't because the entire bottom of the hive was covered with mouse debris, I knew that only a weak hive would let a rodent move in. Time to feed.

Taking apart a warre hive

And also time to take apart the hive to get rid of that mouse nest. From my aborted photo, I'd assumed that I really needed to get into the bottom box to deal with the mouse, but it turns out that I could have just lifted up the whole hive the way you do when you nadir and cleaned off the bottom board that way. Because the mouse hadn't damaged any of the comb in the bottom box at all, as I discovered when I broke warre rules and took the hive apart.

Since the two boxes were already apart, I also took a quick peek in the top box, saw some capped brood, and quickly closed the colony back up. Although the boxes are light and thus clearly very low on honey, sugar water and dandelions should carry the colony through. Looks like our three-year-old hive is still buzzing along!

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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