I removed the shrew-proofing mesh from my hives yesterday so I could clear out the dead bees that have accumulated so far this winter. I reattached the mesh afterwards with the use of a staple gun that produces a loud bang that vibrates through the hive and riles up the bees. But a suggestion from one of my readers changed everything:
“Would it be possible to secure it [the mesh] with drawing pins rather than staples?”
It’s absolutely possible. I did it today, just five minutes ago.
The drawing pins / pushpins work just as well as staples as far as I can tell. That mesh isn’t going anywhere.
Now I can easily remove the mesh, clean out the dead bees and reattach the mesh without bothering the bees. I thought I might need to find a different method for keeping the shrews out of my hive for next year. Not anymore. The mesh attached with pushpins instead of staples works perfectly. At least that’s my story for now.
Thanks for the tip, Emily.
December 18th, 2019: I’ve gotten into using regular thumbtacks instead of pushpins because the pushpins can be rather difficult to drive into the wood. A thumb tack is much easier to attach. To remove one, though, requires pulling the mesh off carefully and taking the tack with it, which can then easily go flying into the grass or get bent to the point of not being reusable. Still, they’re so much easier to use than pushpins, I might stick with them. I suppose I could use one of those staple remover things that look like a tiny fanged mouth, but that’s another gadget I’ll need to keep around and I’m more interested in reducing what I need to keep bees instead of adding more to the list.
Great idea, and leaves Tim the Toolman’s macho gear in the dust!ðŸ˜€
Been keeping bees for 15 years and I still learn something new almost every day. Even just watching the way another keep handles their hive tool can teach something if you’re open to it.
Great tip! Love it! My girls hate vibrations from the staple gun, and the ability to clear out the entrance is awesome. Thanks for sharing that brilliant idea!
For beekeepers who wrap their hives in roofing felt, I suppose tacks could work for that as well. The first time I stapled felt around one of my hives, the bees came pouring out. Extra large but regular flat tacks would probably do the trick. Just push them in hard. It would take more work to remove them, but you only have to remove them once anyway, so no biggy. I’m just speculating here.
Hurray! Wish I could claim it was my idea but it’s just what the elder beekeepers taught me.