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Author Topic: animal got three hives - what is it?  (Read 2842 times)

Offline blckoakbees

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animal got three hives - what is it?
« on: November 07, 2009, 06:51:55 AM »
 I am trying to figure out what animal got to my hives and need some help.  The hives are located on our ranch in the sierra foothills of California.  I have seven hives up there and I have a solar electric tap fence with five strands around the hives and have had hives up there for four years.  I did have one earlier occasion where an animal got a hive when the electric fence failed. I will tell what happen and need some detective work from you all.

My husband called me last Monday from the ranch and said a Bear had destroyed three hives.  I drove up to the ranch (50 miles) and found the electric fence was not working. On one corner the tap was now on the metal post and shorting.  The tape was really dirty and did not work in one section.  There was an area of disturbed dirt (2 feet by 4 feet) in front of where three of my hives use to be.  Two of the hives were two deeps and two mediums.  My husband had cleaned up some of the stuff.  We found two hives crooked by unharmed and one hive had not been touched.  The hive bodies were all intake.  Frames were in differing states of destruction.  In the full moon we put back together two hives as the bees were on three frames on the ground.  The puzzle is that the electric fence was not destroyed and I just do not see how a bear could have gotten into the area and out of the area without destroying the fence as there is a tape every foot or less and it is five feet tall.

I would appreciate any advice as to what creature it could have been.  I could not find any tracks so no big foot involved in this mystery. I would like to know what I am dealing with so I do not have this problem in the future.  The beeyard is on 200 acres oak and pine woodlands at 2000 to 3000 elevation.  There are bears around, deer and all types of other wild creatures.

Your help is appreciated.   

Offline TwT

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Re: animal got three hives - what is it?
« Reply #1 on: November 07, 2009, 07:33:05 AM »
  I could not find any tracks so no big foot involved in this mystery.


aw I see you seen this bunch posts before  :evil: , sorry to hear about your hives but what else in your area would want to even mess with a bee hive, I would still say a bear!!! did you touch or test the fence and see if it was working? I still would say a bear or big foot, Mr. Big Feets gots a sweet tooth
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Offline Bigeddie

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Re: animal got three hives - what is it?
« Reply #2 on: November 07, 2009, 10:38:07 AM »
Do you have racoons up there? I had one get in one of my hives a few years back, it got under the lowest wire and made a mess.
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Offline wd

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Re: animal got three hives - what is it?
« Reply #3 on: November 07, 2009, 11:53:20 AM »
I'd look a little closer for tracks of bear, skunk, badger, raccoon and opossums. What ever it is will probably be back at some point, food has a way of doing that. If nothing else, I'd try a live trap, some thing like a havaheart for skunk, raccoon and opossums.

edit could look for signs such as feces, hair, a path, parts of comb or anything else you can think of.

« Last Edit: November 07, 2009, 04:41:45 PM by wd »

Offline buzzbee

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Re: animal got three hives - what is it?
« Reply #4 on: November 07, 2009, 07:34:43 PM »
Ck the power in the fence after dark,the battery may not have enough holding power to work your fence all night.It happens a lot

Offline rast

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Re: animal got three hives - what is it?
« Reply #5 on: November 07, 2009, 08:15:04 PM »
I agree with TwT and buzzbee, probably a bear because of low power at night.
 Also I don't want to try to get a skunk out of a havaheart trap.
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Offline wd

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Re: animal got three hives - what is it?
« Reply #6 on: November 07, 2009, 08:34:20 PM »
No offense,  I think at the very least the wire would show damage of a bear coming through with out power. Only they really know what the damage is.

if you do set a trap and capture a skunk or any thing it, have yourself a disposable 6x6 tarp, walk up to it covering yourself and toss / cover the trap and wait a few before moved. Let it relax. Be careful when you grab the handle. I've done it this way myself and taken them some place else to let go. Of course what you do with it is up to you. Could call fish and game and ask them take it.

badgers are over this way in the state but far and few between, I'd rule that one out unless you convincing find evidence. meaning it's not likely that's what it is.

Offline weBEE Jammin

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Re: animal got three hives - what is it?
« Reply #7 on: November 07, 2009, 10:18:58 PM »
Set you up a motion sensor camera w/ flash.  Also wet (Soak)  the ground around your hives real good, so you can see tracks. Do you have mountain lions in the area?

Offline annette

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Re: animal got three hives - what is it?
« Reply #8 on: November 07, 2009, 10:57:45 PM »
Yiks!!

Whatever it is, I hope it never comes down to my elevation 1800.

Offline slaphead

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Re: animal got three hives - what is it?
« Reply #9 on: November 07, 2009, 11:20:19 PM »
Starving students?
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Offline Scadsobees

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Re: animal got three hives - what is it?
« Reply #10 on: November 09, 2009, 02:18:12 PM »
I've heard that the bears have been getting more sophisticated, this one probably had a ladder.

Seriously, if you had frames scattered and boxes strewn around, I don't think that there not many animals beside a bear that could do that, and not many besides a bear that could AND would . 

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Offline danno

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Re: animal got three hives - what is it?
« Reply #11 on: November 09, 2009, 02:59:35 PM »
Last year in michigans UP we had a bear that actually learned to open cabin windows to enter.  Camps are not locked up because of remoteness and if someone wants in there going in.  This bear was finally shot after a summer of wripping camps apart.  He never broke a thing going in but once inside would rip down kitchen cabinets and eat everything in site.  he would then just slip back out the window

Offline BeeHopper

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Re: animal got three hives - what is it?
« Reply #12 on: November 09, 2009, 03:56:29 PM »
Look Again for:

Tracks
Scat
Teeth Marks on wax and Frames
Claw Marks on Frames and woodenware
hair or fur on the wires or fence posts

something has to turn up  :-D

Offline wayne

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Re: animal got three hives - what is it?
« Reply #13 on: November 09, 2009, 05:32:55 PM »
  I made my living working this kind of problem. Some options.
Look close at the wreckage and look for tooth marks and hairs in the damaged areas. The size of the canine teeth, width of any bite marks, and the color and length of the hairs will all tell the story.
Look at the trails and paths around the area for several yards in all directions for tracks. Know who your "neighbors" are.
Take a rake and create a tracking pad around the fence. The pad is just a smooth area of loose dirt that shows tracks.
Come back either late at night or early in the morning and confirm the battery does hold a charge over night. You might just take the charger home for a night to do this.
  If a section shorted out you need to check the fence for serviceability more often. All it takes is one failure and you loose the hives, so it is worth the effort. 
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Offline mtbe

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Re: animal got three hives - what is it?
« Reply #14 on: November 09, 2009, 05:36:10 PM »
My first guess is People.  Malicious Intent.

Offline wd

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Re: animal got three hives - what is it?
« Reply #15 on: November 09, 2009, 07:45:26 PM »
wanted to say this before but hesitated, if possible or wanted, a trail cam may be helpful

Offline hankdog1

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Re: animal got three hives - what is it?
« Reply #16 on: November 10, 2009, 01:40:26 AM »
Are ya sure it wasn't the state's legislature?  With the trouble California has been in the government might be intimidating beekeepers into paying a protection tax.   Hehehe sorry couldn't resist.  Sounds like a bear to me though.
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Offline blckoakbees

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Re: animal got three hives - what is it?
« Reply #17 on: November 11, 2009, 07:38:19 AM »

Thank you a for your insights. 
We do have raccoons, mountain lions, skunks and other critters in the area.  (No legisators close by though.) I will look again at the damaged comb to see if I can identify teeth marks or paw marks.  I put back together two of the hives. (what was left) One seems to be doing quite well and the other I doubt will make it through the winter.  I did accidentally test the fence and it gives a very very good jolt.  I was surprised at the voltage.

I am afraid the critter will come back and will be watching.  About two weeks earlier I had found a stick twisted in the fence near the gate which shorted it. the stick was to small for a bear to be able to handle.  I say that because the possibility that a person messed with the fence is there and then some critter came in through the fence afterwards, but not damaging it in anyway.

I am interested in how others place hives in areas like this to keep the critters out.  Would elevating the hive like on a platform be of help?

Offline lenape13

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Re: animal got three hives - what is it?
« Reply #18 on: November 11, 2009, 09:41:06 AM »
I have a sneaking suspicion that errant humans had a hand in this misadventure.  There are only three things that I know of that can get in and out of an area without leaving a sign, one is a ghost, second is a bird, and the third is a human bent on mischief.  (Youtube is full of videos of kids destroying beehives for kicks.)  I wish I was there to help you look into this problem.  I think I would look into the trail camera plan.

Offline D Coates

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Re: animal got three hives - what is it?
« Reply #19 on: November 11, 2009, 10:28:40 AM »
If it was a human bent on trouble more would have been damaged.  Unless they got stung and then there should be signs of an immediate retreat.  A bear is the only thing other than a human with the upper body streingth to get into a hive or move it at all.  Just my 2 cents.
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