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Author Topic: Snakes in my hive eating larva  (Read 4211 times)
jgerlach
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« on: March 23, 2007, 08:58:50 AM »

Last summer just prior to the fall flow I inspected my hives to find no new larva.  I was stumped.  What is the chance that all of my queens are dead.  After further inspection I found that snakes were getting into the hives and eating the larva.  Has anyone seen this before?  Any ideas on how to keep out snakes?  Needless to say it was not a good producing year for me.  I did manage to save the hives but i was not able to pull any honey.  i have asked other local bee keepers in the area and they have never heard of such a thing. 
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Cindi
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« Reply #1 on: March 23, 2007, 09:20:45 AM »

jgerlach.   That sounds horrible.  How do you know for sure that they are snakes?  Did you see them?  What type.  We can have a problem like that with critters too.  Racoons, skunks, mice.  It can go on and on.

For mice control we put hardware mesh over the entrance so that the mice cannot get in.  I bet that would work if you put it on for snake control.  Hope you have good luck, those creepy things that like to bother our bees.  I am so glad that you were able to save your hives.  You have the best of a great day.  Cindi
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« Reply #2 on: March 23, 2007, 09:24:04 AM »

jgerlach

Where are you located?
What kind of snakes are they?
You may want to put entrance reduces on or go with top entrances.

Sincerely,
Brendhan
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jgerlach
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« Reply #3 on: March 23, 2007, 09:29:52 AM »

I live in Southern Maine.  I am going to have my wife identify the snake for me.  I have some skins that were shed but next time i catch one I'll identify it.  I did see them exiting the hive.  Will keeping enterance reducers on all season have anegative effect? thanks for the fast reply.
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« Reply #4 on: March 23, 2007, 09:41:38 AM »

Entrance reducers have two sizes on them, summer and winter . You flip them to decide which season it is.

Sincerely,
Brendhan
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Cindi
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« Reply #5 on: March 23, 2007, 10:00:00 AM »

I love snake skins.  I have an huge snake skin from an old snake that used to baske in the morning sun before I would go up to a greenhouse that I had a little bit higher on my property.  It would get sun the moment the sun came up (the greenhouse in a slightly lower elevation was nice to work in the in the morning because it didn't get full sun til about 11:00 A.M., then I would pretty much be done my work in that greenhouse, because after 11:00 it was too hot).  We have gardner snakes here.

When we took down this higher elevation greenhouse, the poor old snake probably went somewhere else to bask.  I miss him.

I love this old snakeskin, it hangs on some masks that we got from Fiji when we visited there many years ago.  I have weird stuff that I hang on my bedroom wall like that, but man what an interesting room it is.  Best of a best day.  Cindi
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There are strange things done in the midnight sun by the men who moil for gold.  The Arctic trails have their secret tales that would make your blood run cold.  The Northern Lights have seen queer sights, but the queerest they ever did see, what the night on the marge of Lake Lebarge, I cremated Sam McGee.  Robert Service
jgerlach
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« Reply #6 on: March 23, 2007, 10:05:35 AM »

Interesting.  I normally remove the entrance reducer entirely in the summer.  This year I will leave them on in the summer mode and see what happens.
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abejaruco
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« Reply #7 on: March 23, 2007, 02:22:42 PM »

How can the snake gets the larva, if the larva is in the narrow cell?
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« Reply #8 on: March 23, 2007, 02:37:33 PM »

How can the snake gets the larva, if the larva is in the narrow cell?

my thoughts exactly, plus, how can it get between the frames, ok, i think the snake just might get throuh the 8mm spaces but then to curve her head to get it into cells and if the snake is so small it can't have such a tough skin, bees would sting it, right?

but then again, anything is possible.
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jgerlach
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« Reply #9 on: March 23, 2007, 06:23:42 PM »

Those are good questions I have asked myself.  All i know is remove the snake and the larva comes back until the next snake shows up.  Could the presence of the snake couse the queen to stop laying?  Could the snake simply be using the hive as a warm place to sleep and the queen does not like the visitor.  i am puzzeled. huh
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« Reply #10 on: March 23, 2007, 06:37:31 PM »

1/4" hardware cloth over the entrance would work better than the reducers.  It will still give you plenty of bee traffic and ventilation.

You could also try elevating your hives on pipe hive stands that the snakes can not get up.
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Jerrymac
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« Reply #11 on: March 23, 2007, 06:49:05 PM »

You know snakes drink like horses or people. In other words they suck. I wonder if these snakes have "evolved" in such away they suck the larva from the cells?
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« Reply #12 on: March 23, 2007, 06:58:48 PM »

You know snakes drink like horses or people. In other words they suck. I wonder if these snakes have "evolved" in such away they suck the larva from the cells?

noooo way i'd say, to suck you have to dip your mouth, if you make vaccum, well try pressing your mouth against a glass and see if you can suck the fluid out of it.

i'd go with your assumption, snake taking the hive as a shelter and that's why queen stops laying.

and i would do like robo suggested, elevate the hive or at least for starters, shut the lower entrance, give them the top one!
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« Reply #13 on: March 23, 2007, 10:41:43 PM »

this post should be in the Dark Side Of The Moon Forum, never heard or even thought of a snake eating larve, must be a very, very, very small snake!!!!! use the 1/4 hardware cloth, that will stop them from entering the hive anyway.
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« Reply #14 on: March 24, 2007, 04:37:58 AM »

Snakes have long, narrow, tonges. evil
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« Reply #15 on: March 24, 2007, 07:44:49 AM »

Snakes have long, narrow, tonges. evil

and you have a nose, tell me, how many times have you used your nose to eat something?
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #16 on: March 24, 2007, 11:16:00 AM »

Try top entrances. It keeps the mice and skunks out.  Close off the bottom one and they have to go to the top to get in.

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Jerrymac
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« Reply #17 on: March 24, 2007, 11:25:54 AM »

But that long narrow tongue can't be used for lapping up anything. It is only used for smelling where their food is.
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Joseph Clemens
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« Reply #18 on: March 24, 2007, 12:04:44 PM »

If I had a nickel for every time a plant or animal did something it wasn't "supposed to do", I would probably be a millionaire.

And if I had a taste for a particular food, so that I truly craved it, and the only way to eat it was to use my nose -- you would be correct to believe my nose would taste that food, regularly.
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amandrea
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« Reply #19 on: March 25, 2007, 10:50:27 PM »

I've had snakes around my hives which are on plastic milk crates. No idea what they are except mean. Poked at one with a stick and it struck at the stick. Poked it again and it struck at my shoe. Don't know if they are attracted to the area or if it is just natural distribution but I always check for them before doing anything.
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« Reply #20 on: March 26, 2007, 01:39:23 AM »

Go to top entrances, that should cure the snake problem.
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Kev
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« Reply #21 on: March 27, 2007, 06:57:10 PM »

Go to top entrances, that should cure the snake problem.

Using a top entrance or elevating the hives on a stand with smooth legs are solutions that makes the most sense. The snakes we have in the Northeast are pretty small. They could easily get through 1/4 in mesh. 

If you can, take a picture of one of them and post it to the forum. I'd be interested to see if I recognize the snakes.

Don't kill the snakes though. They're extremely good at keeping down unwanted bugs and other stuff...like mice.

Kev
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« Reply #22 on: March 28, 2007, 02:22:59 PM »

I have kept, bred, caught wild snakes and "Milked" snakes in my days. Bee larvae are rich in nutrients, a fact any wild animal would take notice. Snakes tongues are used for smelling and in some varities, assist w/ heat detection. Like some one else pointed out, animals often do that which is unrecognized in books. They don't read after all. I wouldn't worry about a snake eating some larvae. Snakes don't consume huge amounts of food like a skunk for example. A few larvae would probably suffice to fill a small snake. I like snakes, so I wouldn't do anything. Also, top entrances would probably work, but an opening big enough for the bees is probably big enough for some snakes-no matter where the entrance is placed. Snakes have no shoulders, and can get into places most animals could never get into. Picture please so identity could be ascertained.
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doak
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« Reply #23 on: May 07, 2007, 11:28:30 PM »

I would go with the hardware cloth. that will give you ventilation  more than the reducer.
I have noticed the little lizard's going in and out some of mine. Most of the snakes here are too big to get in the entrance, especially  the timber rattlers. really. shocked
doak
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bennettoidjr
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« Reply #24 on: June 30, 2007, 10:40:58 AM »

were the snakes dead when you saw them
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« Reply #25 on: July 01, 2007, 12:55:00 AM »

    I've got two hives elevated and near a stream with blackberry bushes and tall weeds and boggy soil.  Last time I was out there my walker was struck by a cotton mouth a few times, until I was able to give it a permanent attitude adjustment, and while working the hives a copperhead decided to try and get into the five gallon particulars bucket I brought with me.  Luckily I didn't get juiced.  I hate those two cousins.  I love coral and rattlers and have taught my wife, kids and friends how to tell a venomous from a nonvenomous snake (excluding coral) from a safe distance.  Snake killing is illegal here in Arkansas, unless they come after you. 

Maine doesn't have venomous snakes, do you?   The part of Minnesota I was raised in didn't.
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« Reply #26 on: July 19, 2007, 07:28:58 PM »

The question is how big are these snakes. I ask this because in southeast nebraska they have what is called a worm snake and they get about as big as a large night crawler but most of them that I have seen are a little smaller they eat various insects and worms I could imagine one eating larva quite easily I have never seen one in my hives but I do know they are around. And back in Califonia where I originally grew up ive seen what looked like small juvinial garter snakes eating minnows and grass hoppers while we were out trout fishing.
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« Reply #27 on: July 26, 2007, 04:28:16 AM »

we have little garden snakes which eat the mice I believe, and sun on the boulder by the hives, never noticed any in the hives, however the cat loved to eat them...fascinating behaviour, it makes perfect sense that a small snake would eat larvae, I don't know about hardware mesh though a snake can fit into some pretty small places.  Perhaps requeen with some queens of temper. evil Im not trying to get my head into any larvae, and I am being whacked daily from one hive that turned evil.  I kind of don't mind a mean hive, i always wear a suit now because no matter where I am in the apiary Im in the flight path of some hive that doesn't appreciate it.  As far as Im concerned the mean hives are one more insurance policy against nosy bears or other pests.  Id love to see that snake if you catch it! Good luck. A mouse trap or sticky paper might be an option...
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