Do you think of rats as honey bee predators? I never once considered it until I saw these photos taken by Tracy Klein of Seattle.
I know that rats are considered intelligent and innovative, and Tracy’s photos seem to prove it. Her rats learned how to take out both the entrance reducers from the front of the hives as well as the varroa trays from the back of the hives.
Tracy explained how she discovered her intruders:
Yuck is right. In the past two years, I’ve seen several rats around here as well. They were left for me by my cats, but I never associated them with my bee hives.
Tracy says that the rats continued to work at the hives until she finally caught them in a rat trap.
Rats are common bee predators
A quick Internet search showed that I was wrong about rats. Many beekeepers confirm that rats are an occasional problem, and pest control companies report that rats often move into homes and other buildings where feral colonies have taken up residence.
Common or not, I’m still amazed by the photos. That the rats returned night after night and removed the reducers and trays seems incredible. I suppose cleaning up the dead bees wouldn’t be so bad if the rats would only close up the entrances when they were done. Rat training anyone?
On the plus side, Tracy said it was a fun mystery to solve. I definitely get that!
Honey Bee Suite