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I have two hives, one in town by my house, and one near a friend's house in the country.

The hives are constructed heavily. They are over 4 feet long, with the bottom board extending out 6 inches for a landing board by the end entrance, making the hive's total length at around 58 inches. That bottom board is a solid spruce 2x12 which has been cut to about 10 inches in width. The end boards are the same 2x12 material and the sides are 3/4" spruce ply. There is a tempered glass observation window which is 36" long and covered with a 3/8" piece of ply wood and is held in place by four wingnut-type fasteners.

The roof is pitched, made of 3/4" tongue and groove pine with metal roofing over that. It extends out the front to go beyond the landing board, making it about 59 inches long.

The hive is heavy.

It was only built this way because my friend is building a house, and these are the things he had lying around. We were trying to keep to the spirit of using stuff at hand. We didn't buy anything specifically for the purpose of building the hives. But whatever he had a lot of, we used -- including the tempered glass.

We hived nucs in them on May 18 and moved one of them to my house in the city two weeks later - all was going really well at both locations.

This weekend, we found the hive by his place torn open by a bear. Every one of the 19 combs was completely consumed (including ones on plastic foundation from the nuc). Bees gone. Hive dragged and rolled, over 100 feet, across the boulder and root-filled, uneven clearing in the forest.

And the hive?

Perfect. Didn't even break the glass.

Once we put the bars back in and the roof back on, you wouldn't know it had ever been touched.

So I guess that's the bright side. That and the fact that I moved the other to town.

You live and you burn, I guess.

Next design task... An electric fence, and a bear-proof apiary.

(Man, this is quite the introductory course in beekeeping.) :)

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