eaten honey frame  

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Our Second Bear Attack

 

Many Vermont bumpers are adorned with the infamous bumper sticker “Buy Local”. Well Vermont bears are not paying for the local Vermont honey that they are eating…

There hasn’t been a down moment this whole weekend, and within ten minutes of sitting down in our 1950’s lounge chair, still waiting to be reupholstered, so that I can call it my retro chair, Scott played back the answering machine.

We had spent the late morning hour hitching up our tent trailer camper, and then we drove it, and our son to New Hampshire where some lucky staff from the CMC youth retreat will get to sleep in this double, king size bed suite, and call it home for the next seven days. 

Scott and I always set up the camper to have it ready for the workers. Afterward we turn around, and drive home, but not until we’ve made a quick stop into the King Arthur Flour Bakery, for my annual Napoleon. On our drive home, we were discussing the hive that we still need to get prepared for re-queening. Time was going to be tight, because Scott still needed to drive to Burlington and work for a few hours—this year there would be no Napoleon for me.

Oh yes, the answering machine message, my ears perked up, and I began listening to every word. “Hi this is Linda, we think that a bear toppled over one of your hives, there was one down the road a few days ago, we’re about to leave so there’s nothing that we can do about it. Good luck”.

Just like that, Scott’s plans for running out to work were deterred as we grabbed our beeyard gear and clothing, hopped into our Ford Escape, (if only we could escape) and drove to our third apiary yard in the town of Hinesburg.

Through the tall wildflowers and weeds it was unmistakably visible that one of the hives was toppled over. We parked the SUV, geared up and made our way to the hive. I took on the role of historian, and started snapping picture after picture, as Scott and I discussed how we should handle the state of affairs. We were pleased that the hive’s woodenware wasn’t completely damaged. Many of the bees still seemed to be working the hive from the various positions that the boxes were strewn on the ground. In the midst of mayhem it is a blessing when the positive begins to be seen above the disorder. We we’re thrilled to see how well the honeycomb was drawn out, (even though the bear ate a bunch of it) and that so many bees remained. Yes the frames from the super were mangled, and some of the frames broken, but as a whole, like I said, the actual hive boxes were fine.

When a bear attacks a hive, it’s almost a guarantee that it will be back the next day. Therefore, although it would have been easier to take the messed up hive, and to leave the good hive there until early morning when we could tape it up and move it as a whole contained unit—with all the honeybees inside; we had to make the decision to move both hives immediately, or else the other hive might be in similar, if not worst, shape tomorrow.

 

 

That buzzing noise means something. Now, the only reason for making a buzzing noise that I know of is because you are... a bee! And the only reason for being a bee is to make honey. And the only reason for making honey is so I can eat it.

-Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree (1966)

 

On July 1st 2010 our Ford Ranger pickup was taken off the road because it could not pass inspection. No complaints—it was 15 years old. However, transporting two unsealed hives means loose bees in a SUV, and this was not something either of us wanted to do. This is when a “little girl” should think of her daddy. Mine, just happens to be residing on our property for the summer months, and he also just happens to have one awesome truck with an open fifth wheel bed, so Scott called my dad, and he said yes, he would drive the truck to us, and let us load our bees for transport back to our house.

Waiting for dad’s arrival we used this time to move both colony of bees down to the driveway, which took about six trips. At 90 degrees this was not an easy task. We were sweating, overheated because of our protective clothing, and human crankiness tried to make an entrance as well. Truck loaded—emergency flashers on—we had our moment of payback as owners of livestock, driving down route 116 with a small line of cars behind us. It’s not everyday that you get caught behind a truck hauling live bees, tractors yes, but honeybees, not properly taped off, so bees were actually flying off the truck, NO.

While driving Scott and I had a quick “business” meeting regarding the placement of the hives once we got them to our home beeyard. That decision made, we began unloading, and lickety split, they were in their new apiary, surround by a solar-powered bear fence.

The full condition of the bear attacked hive remains to be determined. We will let honeybees settle down, and hopefully tomorrow we can inspect this hive to see if the queen survived the attack.  The medium super needs to be replaced with good frames, but Lord willing there will be a tomorrow and we can address all of this then. Scott is out working and he wants to see all the pictures that I took when he arrives home, so off I go to upload them now.

Next time you have a teaspoon of honey in your tea or a dollop on your bowl of oatmeal, may I suggest that you let the honey linger on your tongue for just a moment longer. Savor it before swallowing—this heavenly golden liquid sometimes comes to our tables with quite a price.

~Valarie
July 11, 2010

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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July 11, 2010 Bear Attack at our Hinesburg Apiary Site

Bear Attacked Hive Bear Attacked Hive Toppled Hive Toppled Hive Toppled HiveToppled Hive Bear AttackDamaged FrameBear AttackBear AttackMoving the hivesmoving the hiveToppled Hivebee transport

 

 
 

 

 
     

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Last Updated December 27, 2013