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Bee Predators

Posted by Tammy Chapman on

Obviously, you don’t want skunks on your property, especially if you have bees and a curious puppy dog!   You most definitely don’t want them near your beehives. Skunks are after the actual bees for their meal. These nocturnal creatures will seek out your hives at night, scratching at the beehives until the bees come out. Elevating your hives should do the trick to keep pesky skunks out. When the hive is raised, the skunks will have to stand on their hind legs to reach it. They have to expose their tender underbelly to the possibility of bee stings.  As you can see, Tim has our hives off the ground.  This has not stopped the skunks!  After a wellness check yesterday ALL the hives have scratches on them, and the bees were really upset.  Tim has the tops weighted to keep racoons out.  The racoons will climb and are able to get the tops off to get to the honey.  Same with bears. Bears can knock a hive over and they can really do damage/destroy a hive.  They don't care about the bees or getting stung.  They want the larvae!  The one we had a few years ago actually licked the hive clean on the inside!  All the larvae and honey were gone.  Not much damage to the actual box, he just licked it clean!  Only an electric fence will keep some predators away.  We do have electric fencing that we used the first year, but we have too many hives now and they are spaced out so that an electric fence isn't practical.  For smaller critters like mice and ants, we sprinkle peppermint around the legs of the hives.  Tim actually rubs it on the legs too.  Deters mice and crawling things naturally.   Have never had a problem with mice or ants...yet.  Last year Tim had to set traps for the skunks.  He just headed out to go buy 2 live traps (we borrowed from a neighbor last year) because we are going to need them going forward.  The live trap will also get weasels, which are bad this year, and maybe even a fisher.  Canned Cat food is the bait of choice! 

Never heard of a fisher until we moved here.  They are a forest dwelling, carnivorous animal. They can climb trees, but forage mostly around downed trees.  They are one of the few animals that can take on and kill a porcupine!  They remind me of a "land beaver".  That is what I call them.  They don't eat fish, but were highly trapped for their fur in earlier times.  I saw Bert chasing one last year.  Scared me!  The fisher kept running and jumped about a 20ft ditch to get away.  He looked like a flying squirrel almost!  He was running full speed and just JUMPED & FLEW over the ditch!  Stopped Bert in his tracks! 

Weather is turning nice finally.  Only in the low 40's last night.  One of our bee keeping friends called today and was talking bees with Tim and told Tim he had just seen his first Hummingbird!  That is a bird I have been waiting for!  Off to get my feeders up!

Stay Safe, Stay Healthy, Stay Sane, Stay Happy! 



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