Hello Bee Thinkers -
I have a bee thinking kenyan-style top bar hive in suburban Seattle, WA. This is my 2nd year - my italians survived the winter! I also have a Bee Thinking Warre hive with carniolans.
Now the issue: Today I pulled the top off my kenyan hive and there were 5 rats scattered off the top of the bars! Yuck! My set up is like this
LEFT SIDE|—~15 Bars with Comb —~|feeding room of ~15 bars with hole in separator board to comb area|empty space|RIGHT SIDE
The rats pulled up the rightmost bar and got into the empty area and had pooped/peed in there quite a bit, and they had pooped on top of the bars a little bit, but there was not a ton of poop or any nesting material and they had not gotten into the place where the feeder is nor the place where the comb/bees are. Judging by the amount of poop I reckon they’d been in there a week or two, not too too long.
I cleaned all the poop out today and used rubbing alcohol to clean the area up. I let the empty area air out a while after using the alcohol.
Solutions in Beekeeping for dummies are Langsroth hive specific. Put in a mouse guard or something. I think these rats got in because the lid on the bee thinking hive is not super tight (not a criticism!)
So here is what I did. I have moved the separators all the way to the right and have removed feeding station from inside the hive. Next I’m thinking that I will pull one bar out so that the bees can, if they want, get into the space above the bars and sting any unwelcome visitors, but this will expose the comb to the rats. What do other Bee Thinking gurus think? Would this next step invite rat disaster or would the bees prevail? These italians were pretty close to gone at the end of the winter - it’s a pretty wet location, but the best I have, and now they’ve come back pretty well apparently. I have posed the same question on reddit.com’s beekeeping subreddit and have not yet gotten a response.
Thank you in advance for your help.
PS: I have no interest in honey from my bees to begin with and especially none now, but I don’t want my bees to die.