the bear (i'm assuming it was a bear) ate all the comb in one frame, had half another frame, and went away.
both hives appear fairly intact, but the blow to being knocked on its side (hive 1) and actually rolled onto it's top (hive 2) has caused an unknown amount of shifting in the comb attached to the frames.
my hives are pretty standard 10 frame hives w/no supers (i read that pkg bees are best to leave alone for the first year). i pulled out two frames from hive 1 because the comb had slumped out of the frame, so that hive is down to 6 frames. my wife and i righted and reassembled the hives, and plan to get some advice before we go back into the hives.
i'm assuming i should replace all the lost frames, but what i'm wondering is should i pull out each frame to check for damage? do i just peer down in to see if they "look" damaged?
this is our first year beekeeping and we didn't intend to get any honey so we're also a little unprepared to deal w/the 2.5 frames of yummy looking comb that was casualty to the incident. i think we'll just use a big kitchen knife to uncap the honey and get some cheese cloth to strain it. prbbly messy but will be fun for us beginners.
any advice for us? comments?
ps. we're going to eat this honey =)
Move the bees from that area NOW. The bear will return again (tonight!!!!!). Inspect each frame and replace as needed. Check that queens are there and not hurt. Feed sugar water. If possible let the bees rob back the honey from the bad combs. If it were me I would buy a big freezer and tonight have enough meat for the winter.
I like my bear rare.
Because we have many bears in our area, I took advantage of a USDA program that lends electric fences to beekeepers for 6 months or so. The man who showed me how to set up the fence suggested that since bears can brush up against a fence or reach over one and not receive a shock, I should take a partially empty tune fish can, with a partially removed lid, and fold the lid over the fence. The bear will put his/her tongue or nose into the can -- and receive a shock. It's worked so far, and we know the bears are still around.
Our state also offers reimbursement to beekeepers whose hives are damaged by bears--but I'd rather prevent the damage. Call your state agriculture department to see what they can offer.
We have had a bear problems over the years. About three seasons ago, we wrapped the fences with bacon in a number of places. Since, we have put bacon on all of the fences / beeyards, we have not had a bear get into a hive.
I have seen bears around the beeyards, and have had people tell me about bears they have seen right outside the fences.
"a USDA program that lends electric fences to beekeepers for 6 months or so."
Can you provide any additional information on this free program?
Contact Rob Calvert at the USDA office in Concord. Phone: 223 6832. I obtained the fence and all necessary equipment in April, and it's due back in November. I'm not sure if I can borrow it for more than one season.
Thanks for the information.