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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Brainerd, MN
    Posts
    533

    Default Urgent Bear Help

    So I had a bear attack last night. It was at an out apiary. This guy practically lives in town so it was what I least expected. I have 2 Warre hives at his house. One I started last year and one that I started this year. The one from last year was spared. It has three full boxes-one honey and two brood. It is working on a supered box and a nadired box. The other I started this year and is only in 1 box.

    The bear tore apart the new hive. The top box was tossed around 15 feet from the hive. Most of the comb was eaten, but a couple of brood combs were just tore out. To add insult to injury we have had thunderstorms and hail all day long. So the bees were wet as well. They were in two clusters. One in the feeder and a larger one in the bottom box (has no comb). Plenty of dead bees, but there was a sizable cluster still alive. I rubber banded whatever comb I could back into the box and put whatever comb was left on the top bars back into the top box, got as many bees as I could back in, and closed things up. I made sure that they had some feed above and below.

    So now my question...wtf now? I cannot forsee myself getting an electric fence anytime soon. I see two overall problems.

    1. What do I do with the destroyed colony?

    2. What do I do with the established colony?

    The first thing I plan on doing is moving both hives. I have a trailer that I emergently borrowed. I plan on reducing the small colony to one box. I plan on doing my best at removing whatever boxes I can that are partially drawn and hauling them beeless. The other three I may haul the other three together or separate. I am not sure.

    So what do you think? Any suggestions? I put urgent in the title as I plan on going back tonight to move the bees as I would hate the good hive to get torn apart tonight.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Santa Fe, NM, USA
    Posts
    119

    Default Re: Urgent Bear Help

    If you can't get an electric fence up today, then moving is the best option.

    Not sure what your situation in MN is, but I imagine it is a bit late in the season to expect the torn up hive to recover and have stores for winter, so combining it with the established colony would probably be your best bet. I don't use Warre hives, so I'm not sure exactly the best method for that, but I'm sure it is probably not too difficult.

    Good luck and sorry about the bear!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Jacksonville, NC
    Posts
    222

    Default Re: Urgent Bear Help

    Good plan on moving them to a safe place ASAP. The destroyed/repaired colony and the established one.
    On the destroyed colony, check in a couple days to see if they still have a queen. If they do and you were able to save some brood, with some feeding and maybe some flow she might rebound right back.
    Good luck!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Brainerd, MN
    Posts
    533

    Default Re: Urgent Bear Help

    Whatever brood is there is likely dead. I picked these combs off the ground and shook the water off of them. I then attached them to my half frames with rubber bands. So I suspect that everything in there is dead. I figured that saving a few combs may give them somewhat of a head start as opposed to just melting it down.

    I am seriously considering dumping them into an empty Lang nuc so I can provide them some brood from one of my two Langs. I should also mention that I just made up a TBH nuc as a spare. It has a queen, a few combs, and bees. Maybe combine them?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Jacksonville, NC
    Posts
    222

    Default Re: Urgent Bear Help

    Did the queen make it? If yes, was she laying good before the bear attack? Not sure how your flow is where you are...But if your queen is laying good, she might surprise you. If you do not feel comfortable waiting and taking a chance, making a Lang nuc and fortify it with some resources from other hives, would also work. Ultimately, if that does not pan out, you can combine with one of your stronger hives.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Tyrone, Pennsylvania,USA
    Posts
    353

    Default Re: Urgent Bear Help

    I feel your pain,I had a bear tear up some of my hives last Friday morning.The bees were so mad I could not go in the back yard with out being stung,my dog got it three times before i realized how mad they were.I did move one hive out but still having some trouble.I also added straps to some of the other hives.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Brainerd, MN
    Posts
    533

    Default Re: Urgent Bear Help

    So just a quick update to my day. After going over there to reassemble the messed up hive I arranged a trailer on my drive home (out apiary around 30 mins away). I got home, sat down for a minute, assembled some ventilated bottoms and went back. I was able to get both hives back home. Warre hives sure are tipsy while in a trailer, going uphill, on a gravel road, and 5 boxes tall. It rained most of the time. It rained all day. In fact...my driveway is a temporary lake and it's still raining. So with the help of the guy at the out apiary we got them loaded and with the help of my wife we got them unloaded. Event free. So far I have not seen any evidence of comb collapse, but then again I didn't do a lot of looking either. The damaged hive with the rubber banded combs held. So there they sit on my stand, which is now practically full. They were able to down some syrup while I was gone, but I will go back and fill it in the morning.

    I still have no idea what I am going to do with this poor hive. I have a TBH nuc that I have setup that I may combine them with. I am not sure how I will be able to examine the warre easily even with my half frames. I suppose I could put a queen excluder between boxes and smoke the top. Then examine the excluder. Thoughts?

    Do you think ratchet straps to my hives would keep the bears out? Maybe then at least they would just tip over and not get devoured.

    What a crap week...

  8. #8

    Default Re: Urgent Bear Help

    Bush84, I would not give up on the wrecked hive yet. Yes the brood are probally all dead, but if by chance the queen is alive. Then I would start feeding them some honey. Give them 2 weeks and then open it up and check for new brood. If there is none then I would combine them with the other Warre. If thats the case. Put a sheet of newspaper over the strong hives top box and place the other hive box on top of them. Put hive back together, and they will naw through and mingle together. Sorry to read about this, but good can still come from it.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Brainerd, MN
    Posts
    533

    Default Re: Urgent Bear Help

    Thanks for all the input every everybody. This am I put some feed on. I was away at work for a good 14 hours, but my wife says that they were active today. She doesn't know how to id pollen, but she said there was decent activity. So that's good. They still had a decent cluster when all was said and done. I would guesstimate larger than a cantaloupe but smaller than a basketball. So maybe there's a queen in there.

    My question how do I know if theres a queen in there? Am I just looking up from the bottom and looking for capped brood? Or is there something else you suggest?

  10. #10

    Default Re: Urgent Bear Help

    I would check them in 2 weeks for capped brood. I think leaving them alone for 2 weeks is a good move. Gives them time to settle back into a colony routine. Bush, have you ever seen the German Skep videos on Youtube? New comb should be soft enough to move them around some to look. If no sign og eggs or brood, then combine them with your other Warre.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Brainerd, MN
    Posts
    533

    Default Re: Urgent Bear Help

    Ya I've seen those old German videos. They are pretty cool. I will just have to keep the feed on and check on them later on.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Brainerd, MN
    Posts
    533

    Default Re: Urgent Bear Help

    Hate to double post, but I uploaded a movie from my phone of my apiary/mauled hive. Activity seems to be good. I have the lower entrance opened slightly (it's not as open as it looks), but I am considering closing it altogether. What's keeping me from doing so is the bees cleaning house and dumping dead larvae etc. Just so everybody is aware. The modified inner cover/feeder is the one showed at the bottom of this page.

    http://warre.biobees.com/feeders.htm

    Here's the link to the video.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5E-mFqt5scM&feature=plcp

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Brainerd, MN
    Posts
    533

    Default Re: Urgent Bear Help

    So this is probably the last update for a little while. Today I poked my nose in the hive. Ya I know it hasn't been 2 weeks, but I couldn't help myself. The first top bar I pulled (half frames make it a bit easier) was basically empty. The second had eggs! Then the third had the queen!!! So I'm pretty pumped right about now. After that I saw about all I wanted to see and put everything back together. They have been building some comb. I see that from the top there are bees on around 5 of 8 top bars. So the cluster is a decent enough size for what happened. Still bees coming and going and some with pollen. Raspberries, clover, and wild flowers are kicking butt right now. So they are largely ignoring the feed, but I will likely have to feed some in July. There is hope for this hive! I think everything will be ok.

  14. #14

    Default Re: Urgent Bear Help

    lol, that's what happens when they are in your backyard! Good to hear all is well with them. Now you can relax and let them bee.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Harsens Island , Mi , USA
    Posts
    241

    Default Re: Urgent Bear Help

    Opps,,,i thought it said urgent beer help , .

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Brainerd, MN
    Posts
    533

    Default Re: Urgent Bear Help

    Unfortunate update.

    So my Warre that was attacked by a bear officially hasn't made it. At some point they had a queen, but I noticed that their activity never really picked up, but in fact it dwindled. I checked last week and didn't see any brood and less bees. I fed them figuring maybe it was because our flow had slowed. That didn't help. Today I checked and didn't see a queen and no brood. I suspect they were robbed by the Warre next to them on my stand and the queen killed. Looking back I should have placed them on their own floor with legs instead of my stand. Oh well. We had some warm temps with some good bears and both hives had a beard at one point that was almost conjoined. That may have been the problem.

    So onto my questions. my only other close Warre is the one next to it, which is on 6 boxes already. I have a weaker Warre an hour away, but I am a bit lazy to go there and combine them. Does everybody think it'd be wise to just go out there and do it? Also do I have to put the new box on top or can it go on the bottom? It's not completely drawn. I figure that if I put the new box on the bottom with newspaper on top of it they will combine themselves fairly quickly and I don't have to worry about the partially drawn box going on top. Thoughts?
    Not Michael Bush. My name is Dan. Sorry for the confusion.

  17. #17

    Default Re: Urgent Bear Help

    Dan, I would combine it with the farther away hive. But I would put it on top, with the news paper divider. Then with golden rod blooming they should fill that up quickly. Godspeed Friend.
    Ralph Waldo Emerson "To map out a course of action and follow it to the end requires courage". John 3;17

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Rock Port, MO. USA.
    Posts
    161

    Default Re: Urgent Bear Help

    Somewhere, I read of a beek spraying the two colonies of bees he wanted to combine with a few drops of vanilla in water to cover-up the difference in scents so they would combine without any need for paper divider. I'll see if I can find it later.

    Here it is:

    I read in another forum, last night, that there is no need for newspaper if you just put 2 or 3 drops of vanilla extract into a spray bottle and fill it with water. Spray the bees lightly and they think they all came from the same place.

    Robee

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Aguadilla - puerto rico
    Posts
    152

    Default Re: Urgent Bear Help

    ever thought of getting your hunting permit and get a 444 marlin for the hunting season comming? i think it start in oct and you could make him your bear rug for your home, =)

  20. #20

    Default Re: Urgent Bear Help

    Quote Originally Posted by RAFAEL/PR View Post
    ever thought of getting your hunting permit and get a 444 marlin for the hunting season comming? i think it start in oct and you could make him your bear rug for your home, =)
    I think you are right on there Rafael!
    Ralph Waldo Emerson "To map out a course of action and follow it to the end requires courage". John 3;17

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