Toppled Hive  

Where You'll Find Vermont Honey
by Vermont Beekeepers

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The Third Year


Bear Loves “Heavenly Honey”
by Valarie Wilson

We were waking up just like any other Sunday morning—bright an early to get ready for church. However, this May 3, 2009 held a little surprise for the Wilson’s.

In hopes of coffee being served to me in bed, I was lingering. Scott was up and putting Poppy, the Gold Retriever that we were dog sitting, outside. Scott quickly returned to the bedroom and announced that one of our hives was tipped over, and that he was going outside to take a look. “Wait for me” I said. In a flash we were geared up and on our way to the bee yard; it was 6:30am. Our only hive to survive the winter was toppled over. The frames were scattered on the ground, yet the hive boxes appeared to be intact.

We live in Monkton. Our friends are only 4/10 of mile from our home, and they have had bears in their backyard. And just a week ago, I was walking a mile west of my house, again on a ridge, and I encountered bear scat. Therefore, I was convinced that just because we are on lower land, that this wouldn’t keep a hungry bear away from our apiary. Thus my husband, embracing our current situation jokingly exclaimed, “I told you that we’d get attacked by bears!”

After a quick scan of the rest of the yard, thankfully none of our five nucs (that we just added on Friday evening) were touched. The scattered frames on the ground had honeybees still on them. Hence, we flipped through them, and found one frame with a small cluster (about the size of an opened hand) clinging to it. Therefore, we gathered the frames, and put them back into the brood box. Then the extra super of honey was reassembled, and it was at this point that I noticed three frames were missing. I began to look around, and about ten yards from the fallen hive, I spotted a frame. The comb and honey were gone—just frame and dangling wires remained.  Then in another direction about the same distance from the hive, was a second dropped frame. This one was full of honey, and it had teeth marks from where the bear’s teeth had clamped down on it. The third frame is still missing in action.

We didn’t find a surviving queen, but the remaining bees are active, so we’ll requeen and see what happens.

Now we’re also contemplating what our next step will be to protect our bee yard.  This is our third year in beekeeping and it hasn’t had a dull moment yet; therefore, I’ll end by singing you the beekeeper’s song, “Varroa, Swarms and Bears, oh my!”


Time to munch an early luncheon
Hum de dum dum dum
Oh, I wouldn't climb this tree
If a Pooh flew like a bee
But I wouldn't be a bear then
So I guess I wouldn't care then
Bears love honey and I'm a Pooh bear
So I do care, so I climb there
I'm so rumbly in my tumbly
Time for something... for something...
sweet! To eat!

-Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree (1966)




We received a call after dinner Sunday evening 8/30/09. A neighbor (that we have never met) down the road about one mile had a swarm in one of his apple trees. This short video shows us capturing the swarm.

In preparation for mayhem, I was geared up in my Rosies coveralls (great work-gear for women) and veil. This was in anticipation of thousands of honeybees covering my body like last years swarm catch. View that story here.













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View 2009 Photo Gallery

Beekeeping The Third Year

Heavenly Honey Apiary bear attacked hive
Heavenly Honey Apiary Scott inspects damaged hive
Heavenly Honey Apiary Bear ate the honey
Heavenly Honey Apiary Valarie working new nuc
Heavenly Honey Apiary Scott unloading nucs
Heavenly Honey Apiary Valarie opening hive entrance












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Last Updated December 27, 2013