Green Woodpeckers are a common ‘problem’ when it comes to keeping bees. As much as I want to protect our bees, it does seem a little mean to tease the woodpeckers with a larder full of tasty treats and then put a barrier up. However, that is what I have done. Both sites will be woodpecker proofed as I have found evidence of an old damaged hive at Barsham and the birds themselves have been seen at Flixton.
We toyed around with different options of minimising woodpecker damage – and ended up with the middle option of forming a barrier around the hives with rabbit wire. The cheaper option would have been to wrap thick black plastic around the outside, which may have an adverse impact on humidity inside the hive (although Hugh has used it successfully in the past). The more expensive option would be to form a cage out of rigid wire, probably the easiest to handle, but beyond our means at present.
Barsham was the first site to be done, it was nice to find the hives are situated in a winter sun trap (sometimes things do run to plan) and the bees were busy flying in the warmth. First of all I removed the feeders so I could bring them back to clean them. Incidently, the kitchen smells really good right now, the propolis is reluctant to come away from the feeders and is gently scenting the air from where they are sitting on the draining board. A little bit of summer. I wonder if any of the laundry liquid companies have ever thought of using it as a scent?
The rabbit wire was secured with canes, wire and tent pegs whilst the bees buzzed around. It was nice to be amongst them again, I wasn’t even worried about not wearing a jacket or veil. Gloves would have been good though – not because of the bees, but because I managed to give myself several wire cuts, one of which did bleed rather impressively.