When I asked for photos of your beehives, Brian Dennis of Northamptonshire, U.K. sent images of his beehives after they were trashed by vandals. Quite a few of you wanted to know “the whole story,” so I asked Brian to tell us the details. Here is his sad story:
When the farmer on whose land I kept my bees informed me that my hives had been knocked over, I went to assess the situation—I was hoping that the wind or animals had caused the problem. What I found is shown in the photos—human animals had toppled the hives using lengths of piping found on site; then they used stones from a nearby derelict barn to smash the hives and destroy the bees.
I spent several hours clearing the site and was able to re-hive two colonies (from ten) that were still alive on the ground. When I returned a week later, I found the attackers had been back to inflict further damage.
Although an isolated site, I could not (after twenty years) continue to keep bees on this site. One of the two colonies that I had re-hived decided they had had enough and left! I removed the remaining colony to another site (same farmer but a more secure site). In the process of being attacked and re-hived, the queen was lost. I added a frame of brood but eventually the colony died out. The farmer provided another site and I have expanded this to six colonies. So far, no problems! The farmer and his wife have become beekeepers and live nearby, so I am able to help as they learn.
I can understand (but not condone) children pushing hives over to see what happens—it happens. What I don’t understand is the pleasure they (not necessarily children) got from destroying my equipment and killing my bees. My bees and beekeeping give me great pleasure. The farmer’s comment was “I hope they got stung.” Unfortunately, it was early in the year and the bees were not active. This year the weather has been awful and my usually docile bees have been very bad tempered, so I wish they would try again! Now I understand why beekeepers often put their bad-tempered bees in out-apiaries!