One of my cats killed a shrew near my hives today.
I lost three quarters of my honey bee colonies to shrew predation last winter. No one ever warned me about them and I never noticed much written about them. You can expect me to write a Masters thesis on them by the end of the year, though.
I will be covering all of my hive entrances with quarter-inch mesh this winter.
There’s a lot more written about mice as they’re more common I guess. I put one of these on in late autumn: http://www.thorne.co.uk/index.php?route=product/product&product_id=1739
A mouse guard with 10mm holes sounds about right, even for shrews. The mesh I used measured about 12mm. It kept the mice out but not the shrews. Those 2mm might make all the difference. The mesh I plan to use this year is a little over 6mm, just wide enough for worker bees to come and go, which means I’d have to install it after the last pollen and the after the drones have been expelled. We’ll see.
Mice were a real pain in the rear for me in one hive, too, last summer. (Fortunately, it was an empty bait hive, though, so no harm done.)
I staple 1/4″ mesh on over my openings in the fall and keep them on until I see pollen coming in. Works beautifully at keeping out unwanted rodents.
BTW, my old composter was too small, so I created a new one this spring. Not only has it proven to be a huge shrew magnet, but it appears to be luring in foxes and cats as well. I guess the circle of life is alright as long as it happens far away from my bees. ;-)
Yeah, I think quarter-inch mesh (6mm mesh) is the answer too.
Good to know about the compost problem. I’ll keep my compost away from my hives and hope for the best.