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Posts Tagged ‘bears’

Relocated hives

Relocated bee hives

Went out to Jannine’s farm yesterday to check on the three hives that I had to quicky move after a bear got into the yard and tore one of them up. As I feared, the queen did not survive the attack, and without her, the colony is doomed.  It is too late in the year to find a replacement so I transferred the remaining combs and bees to the two other hives.    Bees are very territorial, and vigorously defend their own hive from other bees, so it’s not a good idea to just move bees from one hive to another.   To get around this, I placed a sheet of newspaper at the last bar of the strong hive, folding it around the edges to keep the bees to one side. Then I poked a number of holes in the paper so that the bees could pick up the odor of the bees on the other side.   Then I took half of the combs from the damaged hive and placed them next to the newspaper. Combining hives  Once the hive is closed up, the original bees on one side…the orphan bees on the other side…they will begin to chew through the newspaper.  By the time they open up the holes and pass through, they will have become accustomed to the scent and won’t attack each other.  That’s what is supposed to happen.  I’ll give them a couple days and then go back to see if they have assimilated or if there is total civil war going on!   Before closing up the hive, I placed a baggie of sugar water into the bottom of the hive, picking a number of pinholes into the upper side of the bag.  The sugar water will very slowly ooze out as the bees drink it up. This will give them a safe and close supply of sugar.   Jannine with sugar

Meanwhile….. a juvenile black bear was found up a tree just at the end of our block. Could this have been the culprit?  Hard to say, as there have been 10 different bears sighted in the city this past couple of weeks.  Animal control was called and they were able to tranquilize it and move him back up to the nearby hills.  Bears  found wandering the city are tagged. There is a “three strike” policy in such cases.  After the third capture in the city, the bears are relocated far away in the Jemez mountains to the west of Santa Fe.  This was this bear’s first strike…I hope he settles down for a long winters nap soon! Black bear in tree

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Bears !

Broken combs from the bear attack

Broken combs from the bear attack

Last Thursday I woke up to find that one of the bee hives was upended and the honey comb scattered on the ground.  I couldn’t believe my eyes.  The other two hives were untouched.  What could have done that?  Then I saw a big pile of scat ( poop ) on the ground in front of the mess.  There was no doubt…. a bear had come into the yard, found the hive, tore it open and ate about 1/3 of the honey.  I quickly set the hive back up and surveyed the damage.  About 5 combs had fallen out and landed as a unit on the ground and were undamaged.  I quickly fired up my smoker, put on my veil and carefully put the combs back in the hive.  It was so cold  ( about 32 degrees out) that the bees were practically motionless on the combs. I sealed up the hive as best I could, and put the top on it. I have no idea if the queen survived.  I collected the broken combs and took them inside to harvest the honey out of them.  I asked around and fellow beekeepers told me that I must relocate the hives right away because once the bear knows there is food in an area, it will come back each night until all is eaten.  I borrowed my neighbors truck and my friend Jannine came over to help me move all three hives to her yard, about 6 miles away.  We had to wait until dark when all the bees had returned to their hives… so there we were… struggling to carry these heavy hives to their new location in the dark of night.  ( the full moon was a big help ! )  Sure enough, the bear(s) returned again that night, and for the next two nights looking for more food.  I noticed that the bird feeders had been pulled down from the tree branches as well.     It’s autumn…bears are hungry and looking for food to fatten themselves up for their long winter hibernation.  Can’t really blame them.  Just have to deal with them.  I’ll keep the hives at their new location and probably bring one back to the yard in the Spring.  I doubt if the colony survived the attack.  I’ll check on it later this week to see if there is any activity.  If there is no sign of the queen, then the colony is doomed… the remaining workers will just die off.  I’ll put the combs into the two good hives , clean out the old hive and get new bees next spring.   That’s nature for you!

Bear scat

Bear scat on the path

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