Thursday, May 19, 2011

Animal Terrorist or Catastrophic Failure?

Today, I looked over and saw a light colored mass under the hive. I walked over thinking it was a plastic bag or something only to find out it was raw comb.

Since we don't have any bears in the area... wait there was that one... seriously if it were a bear it would have knocked over the whole hive not just go for the low hanging fruit. Then again it could have just been the building of comb on the screen bottom board and one section got too heavy and pulled the others down with it. Most likely it was the work of a skunk who are naturally immune to bee stings.

WAIT! Back up! Why is there that much comb under the hive anyway? It had been 9 days and while the issues of the rear returning foragers hadn't stopped the only solution I could come up with was closing up the back of the hive. I however was afraid that this might encourage that space to be used as a super so I left it alone. Little did I know that is exactly what had been happening. In this picture you can see that they were actually raising brood in that comb. My only solution now is that the mass of bees under the hive was a swarm that didn't get too far.

Knowing that if it wasn't an animal who caused this comb to fall, it was now just an open invitation of them sitting there. I set out retrieving the pieces using a coat hanger and the kitchen tongs. As you can see there was quite a haul for 9 days work. That is a 15" x 10" baking pan it is on.

In the process of collecting the comb I freed a few bees that were trapped in the gooey wax/nectar and returned them to the area near the hive. I am hoping they will clean each other off and be able to fly again. In return one of the girls gave me the sting of my life as I inadvertently trapped her further between my finger and the comb.

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