I always knew it would happen someday, and someday finally came. For twenty years my apiary has been in the same place, scattered along the trails that lead toward the Capitol State Forest. Just a simple gravel road separates my place from their place, so it wasn’t anything complicated for the bears to figure out.
And it’s not like I didn’t know the bears were out there. We’ve seen them when hiking, and neighbors and equestrians frequently report sightings. Nevertheless, I became complacent. I thought perhaps the prevailing winds kept the scent of the hives from crossing into the forest, and maybe it did. Until it didn’t.
Earlier this month, we left town for a week-long road trip. In addition, we put the dog in a kennel for the duration. The dog, I think, also may have kept them at bay. At any rate, he’s always been a good early warning system in the event of intruders, including the four-footed variety.
Whatever the reason, a bear took full advantage of our absence. The photos below show four different hive stands. Three of them held three hives each, and one held two. The boxes, which I assembled with screws are in pretty good shape, the rest is trash.
The hives closest to the house — a top-bar hive, a long hive, and a single-deep Langstroth — remained untouched.
Now comes the hard part: what to do next and how to do it.
Honey Bee Suite