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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
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    Denver, Colorado
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    5,079

    Default Is this a sign of skunks?

    Check out these pictures.

    http://parkerfarms.blogspot.com/

    Is this a sign of skunks? It looks like poo made of bees. There don't seem to be any scratches on the hives.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Stonewall, Louisiana, USA
    Posts
    64

    Default Re: Is this a sign of skunks?

    I think it may be a skunk. The piles of bee bodies could be where a skunk has eaten the bees and regurgitated the parts he couldn't digest. Haven't seen it personally but I have heard of it described in detail from my mentors.

    Brent
    Sucking the marrow of life doesnt mean choking on the bone...

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Heavener Oklahoma
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    928

    Default Re: Is this a sign of skunks?

    I seen this several years ago in a yard i didn't know what was doing it and on day i went to the yard and found a possum eating on the dead bees on the ground where they had pull out the bees that have died.


    I found that skunks like to eat live bees they do this by scratching on the fronts of the hive if the bees are hot tempered they come out and the skunk will turn its tail and the bees ball up in their tail and then the skunk will pick them out and eat them.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Cass County, MO
    Posts
    448

    Default Re: Is this a sign of skunks?

    Most Skunks are born in May and June so they would be a Taurus or a Gemini


    Looks like skunk poo to me. They love to eat bugs under pole lights, too. That poo looks like June Bugs.
    4 seasons 19 Hives-Camp Branch Bee Ranch. Est 2009
    "I am a nobody; nobody is perfect, and therefore I am perfect."

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
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    Denver, Colorado
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    Default Re: Is this a sign of skunks?

    I don't see any sign of scratching, and I know there are skunks in the area. I would be okay with opossums. I'll shoot a skunk if I have to. 'Possums ain't worth the bullets.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Massillon, Ohio
    Posts
    3,405

    Default Re: Is this a sign of skunks?

    If it's a skunk you will see piles of mashed up bees lying around which look a lot like turds made of crushed bee parts or small wads of chewing tobacco. They suck out all of the bee juices and spit up the remains of compressed bee parts.

    Nightly snacking can really set a hive back and also make them pretty grumpy and unpleasant to work. If you have a problem with skunks try going to a top entrance.
    To everything there is a season....

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
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    Denver, Colorado
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    5,079

    Default Re: Is this a sign of skunks?

    Is there a time of night when skunks typically lurk?
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Grantsburg,WI
    Posts
    115

    Default Re: Is this a sign of skunks?

    They can't keep their paws out of it, away's some sign of scratching.
    If your low electric wire don't do the trick there are sharp strips available.
    OR inverted tack strips from carpet industry ???
    (I use a 2 wire electric fence)

    BM
    “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable." - JOHN F. KENNEDY -

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Rice County, MN, USA
    Posts
    43

    Default Re: Is this a sign of skunks?

    I had a skunk getting into my hive and we put a piece of lath with lots of little brads sticking out of it in front of the entrance and haven't had any more problems with the skunks eating bees. I don't think the skunk likes to rest his little elbows and paws on those pointy little nails!
    Last edited by bigwoodsbees; 02-17-2011 at 08:16 PM.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Concrete, WA, USA
    Posts
    761

    Default Re: Is this a sign of skunks?

    you can set a trap but thats a mixed blessing - a) you caught a skunk b) its a SKUNK c) how to get it out of the trap ???

    i trapped one years ago ...... it sprayed everything in sight- so i shot it .... in doing so it sprayed some more .... what a mess.

    what might work is getting truss tack plates and screw them on the landing board with the spikes up - that might help also i hear that chicken wire layed on the ground keeps them away also
    Doing the Right things Right
    http://thevalleysbuzz.webs.com/

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Denver, Colorado
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    5,079

    Default Re: Is this a sign of skunks?

    Is that like the the strips you put down at the edges to hold carpet?

    I just went out and checked, scanned the trees for beady eyes, saw a rabbit.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Rice County, MN, USA
    Posts
    43

    Default Re: Is this a sign of skunks?

    It is sort of like that carpet tack strip which you can buy but it has more spikes. I am not sure whether the carpet tack strips would work as well but they might. They definitely have sharper little nails sticking up and I don't think our friend the skunk would like that at all.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Concrete, WA, USA
    Posts
    761

    Default Re: Is this a sign of skunks?

    here is a link to a picture http://naggama.co.kr/main/china/chin....php?no=123058

    they come in lots of sizes
    the carpet strips would work too - those tacs are deadly !!!!!!
    Doing the Right things Right
    http://thevalleysbuzz.webs.com/

  14. #14
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    chilliwack, bc
    Posts
    636

    Default Re: Is this a sign of skunks?

    Most skunk sign will usually show that plant matter will be torn and scratched at the front of the hive along with scratch marks on the bottom board and super near the entrance. If you look close enough, you might even see the trail that they've worn into the grass when they come to feed each evening. your photo's don't look like skunk damage to me and it's usual to have some dead bees out in front of the hive or if the hive is suffering from something else, it could have an even bigger pile of dead bees.
    Will Gruenwald Chilliwack BC

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Baker Oregon
    Posts
    2,370

    Default Re: Is this a sign of skunks?

    You could make a dead fall trap then you don't worry about being sprayed when collecting the trespasser. They work good on small animals, but are indiscriminate, so you can get unwanted victims in the squash zone.

    Dan
    Last edited by RiodeLobo; 02-18-2011 at 11:20 AM.
    Dan Hayden 4 Years. 9 hives. Tx Free. USDA Zone 5b.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Kiel WI, USA
    Posts
    2,368

    Default Re: Is this a sign of skunks?

    A 220 conibear with a plastic cup of cat food wired to the trigger, I've never had one spray that way. NOT SELECTIVE! Or the rabbit sized havahart, thread a sturdy pitchfork through the handle and drop the whole works into a creek. Don't use the raccoon size or get a fork tine in the trap when moving it.

    But I got sick of trying to get rid of them, so now I just use a single wire solar fence, planning to go to all upper entrances in the future.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,925

    Default Re: Is this a sign of skunks?

    After losing a few nights sleep trying to resolve my skunk problem (and getting rid of a few) I realized there was a family of them and I needed to sleep. I went to top entrances only and have had no issues since.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Reno, NV USA
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    2,310

    Default Re: Is this a sign of skunks?

    Michael,

    I have most hives with both a top and bottom entrance and have considered top only because the bees seem to prefer it. Do you still need to use mouse guards?

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,925

    Default Re: Is this a sign of skunks?

    >Do you still need to use mouse guards?

    No mouse guards.
    No mowing in front of the hives.
    No digging the entrance out of the snow so they can take cleansing flights on a warm snowy day.
    No skunk problems.
    No entrances blocked by dead bees.
    No condensation problems.

    They are cheap and easy to make.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Denver, Colorado
    Posts
    5,079

    Default Re: Is this a sign of skunks?

    Michael, you may remember back in 2003 when I came up with my top entrance design.

    It's a 3/4" shim made of 3 sticks of 3/4" square stock, attached at the front by a 1x4 landing board.

    You can see them used as a bottom entrance in these pictures:
    http://parkerfarms.blogspot.com/2011...ew-apiary.html
    You can zoom in on the picture to see better.

    I had tried to use only a top entrance with my first hive here in Arkansas and had trouble getting the bees to move down in the hive, but that may have been just a one hive thing. Lately, I have been using one at the top and one at the bottom during the summer for ventilation and then removing the top one for winter (one hive propolized it closed before I could take it off this last fall.)

    So I have the option to go straight to that, and I may try to do that this year if the skunk problem keeps up. I put some those carpet tack strips in front of the entrances, but not nailed down, and they haven't been bothered. It seems that the skunk (likely only one, skunks are territorial) has only been eating the dead bees laying in front of the entrances.

    This year, we also had the deepest snow I've ever seen at 16", so that aspect interests me. The only problem I have with the concept is that I have had water pool up in the bottom of a hive that wasn't tilted forward before. If there are no entrances on the bottom, couldn't that happen again?
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

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