Woodpecker cage version 1

So, now I’ve introduced you to the 2nd version that I built earlier today, I should probably go over its predecessor.

The concept of a woodpecker cage is to try to prevent them attacking beehives. As shown in this example if they get hungry and have trouble with other food sources in winter, they will plough straight through the side of the hive and the frames, causing expensive damage, not to mention munching on all your bees.

As to the design, I kind of guessed what to make, taking into account raw materials, some guidance I’d been given on the bee-keeping course and at meetings of my local bee-keeping club. Looking to keep the gap of the mesh small enough to prevent the bird entry, keeping the mesh at least 30mm from the wood so the bird can’t peck through and making sure that there are not gaps so that the bird can sneak under the cage. Now its not unheard of for them to attack the bottom board, but that would entail more precise measurement and would end up having to be specific to a particular hive.

So, the making of… I made a top frame to hang a curtain of mesh from, like a shower curtain rail.

frame edge with chicken wire mesh tied on

I tied the mesh round the frame twice attaching it by hammering staples in. Slight issue with that being that the staples I had were quite large and prone to splitting the lightweight wood.

close up of corner assembly of frame, where chicken wire is attached

The overlapping wire being chicken wire what a bit ‘unruly’, and would not stay appropriately crossed over, so I added some thin wire to ensure the size of the holes in the mesh remained constant. A nice side effect seemed to be that working with the wire worked the kinks out of the mesh and tended to keep it straight and under control.

aligning wires keeping the alignment of mesh
keeping the mesh aligned

I made the frame wider than the hive roof, then overlapped the wire mesh at the top, pulling in the mesh with wire to support the framework by crossing the roof. Further down the ‘curtain’ I made some framework corners, to maintain the distance of the mesh from the hive body, tying them in at the corners and on their ‘arms’ to keep them horizontal.

completed frame over a hive
buzz or bok ?

All in all not a bad design. Minimal in wood usage, minimal in number of cuts to the mesh. In placing the cage on the hive at the apiary I tucked the bottom of the cage wire under the bottom board of the hive. I will have to try to get a picture of it in place next time I go to that apiary.