My last blog entry had pictures and details of the damage bears have caused to our hive equipment, and as I wrote about on the BackToBasicLiving blog last night, we found that something large and annoying had tried to get into the apiary. The electric fence was in pretty poor shape - but it did survive and apparently keep the unwelcomed guest out. I'm certain it was a bear. We had a lot of repair work to do this morning on that fence and I went to bed last night worrying about it.
At about 4:30 this morning, Bernie and I were startled out of our sleep by a very loud "thump". We immediately knew it was a bear. Bernie and I quickly flew out of bed and grabbed flashlights and a shotgun. We staggered out of the house, half awake and looking like insane asylum escapees, and immediately saw that the stack of bee hive supers was again strewn about. Bernie walked into the backyard and said "Oh, man." I screamed "WHAT????" He said "He got into the grill and knocked it over." About then we heard loud scurrying through the woods. I screamed "SHOOT HIM! SHOOT HIM!" Bernie calmly explained it was pitch-black-freaking-dark and he couldn't see a thing. Soon we heard nothing at all. But we were both uneasy. The bear was heading toward the apiary.
I held the flashlight and Bernie quickly cleaned up the mess the bear left for us. Then we got into our little Trail Blazer and headed down to the apiary. All was calm. We sat there a while, and nothing happened, so we headed back to the house. Bernie couldn't get back to sleep, so he got up to watch CNN. I managed to doze a while longer and dreamed about bears the whole time. When I got up we went down to the apiary and fixed the electric fence. Then we put the stack of supers and all hive equipment into the sea container and locked it up. It would be nice if we could have left it out a while to make sure all the wax moths were dead and given the girls a chance to clean out any extra honey left over, but those darn bears spoiled all of that for everyone. I was sure to let the bees know exactly what happened.
On the lighter side, we checked out the weak hive today and found they had managed to slurp up 1/2 gallon of sugar water. We topped off the gallon jug and put it back in there for them. We checked on another hive to see if it was ready for another super, but they had only managed to cap off one frame with honey. But we did see them flying in with lots of pollen in their pollen baskets, so I guess we'll give them a little time and check again.
Those bears are really at the top of my list right now. I've never hunted bear, but I am going to do a little research on the best method. Next hunting season I'm planning on having a nice bear skin rug in front of the fireplace. And I plan to be eating on some nice bear stew while I lay on it.