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I've been keeping this blog for all of my beekeeping years and I am beginning my 16th year of beekeeping in April 2021. Now there are more than 1300 posts on this blog. Please use the search bar below to search the blog for other posts on a subject in which you are interested. You can also click on the "label" at the end of a post and all posts with that label will show up. At the very bottom of this page is a list of all the labels I've used.

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I began this blog to chronicle my beekeeping experiences. I have read lots of beekeeping books, but nothing takes the place of either hands-on experience with an experienced beekeeper or good pictures of the process. I want people to have a clearer picture of what to expect in their beekeeping so I post pictures and write about my beekeeping saga here. Along the way, I've passed a number of certification levels and am now a
Master Beekeeper Enjoy with me as I learn and grow as a beekeeper.

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Sunday, January 02, 2011

Mysterious Marauder at the Blue Heron!

I stopped by the Blue Heron this afternoon. The temperatures are in the low 50s and I thought I might see some bees. I really miss my bees at home and wish I had a hive to watch everyday here as I used to.

When I arrived, Julia's hive was opened up with the hive top feeder exposed to the sky. The inner cover, the ventilated inner cover and the hive top were neatly stacked on the ground behind the hive. The hive top covered everything and was top side up, unlike we would place it during an inspection.

Wonder what kind of creature would do this? I imagine it might have been a raccoon whose paws/hands are small enough to push from under the hive top. But if a raccoon opened the hive, why didn't he stay around to drink the syrup?

Sadly the open sugar syrup swimming pool was filled with drowned bees. Julia had called me from the Blue Heron on Friday when the temperatures were in the 60s to say her hive top had been moved slightly off. I guess the marauder returned after she left to finish the job.

Julia and I decided I should dump the feeder on the ground to stop further drownings and put the hive back together. In removing the feeder, I slid the second box (I had no hive tool with me) and found to my sadness that the hive contains no bees. I called Julia again and we thought leaving the hive empty on its site might serve to lure a swarm in the spring.

See all the sad, dead bees floating in the syrup? These aren't my usual quality of pictures because I took them with my phone.

My hive had bees flying out of it. I tried to catch a picture when there were three or four on the landing, but I only caught this one (in ten photo opps!) Oh, well. There are bees in my hive. Let's hope they continue to live through the rest of the winter.

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  1. "neatly stacked"? doesn't sound like a raccoon to me.

  2. The only reason I thought it might be is that the parts while stacked could have been pushed off the hive and fallen just as they did. Why would an animal or a human want to open the beehive and why would a human pick the only one that is a deadout?
    I have no idea - it's certainly a mystery!

  3. Anonymous2:36 AM

    I agree with Tim. Sounds like someone (as in a human) was bold enough to see what was going on with it. Maybe they noticed nothing flying in and out and decided to peek inside. I was told awhile back that someone stole a whole hive from a plot of land on the outside of town. It was there one day and gone the next. Why can't people just leave other's property alone? Sheesh.

  4. I don't really know how to address this. Maybe we need signage at Blue Heron to say that the bees are in the hives even if they look inactive and that they will not live through the winter if you take the top off of the hive. I just didn't want to think it was a person, but clearly it was.


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