For pictures, see the last post....last night was a repeat! We feel like we did what we could, but that bear was persistent and hungry.
I spent the day yesterday coming up with an evacuation plan for the bees - seems like I used all my phone minutes in one day! I called the Game Commission, local beekeepers, some relatives, and our pastor's family. We decided that the bear was definitely going to come back for more; yesterday I still had one box of bees and honey salvaged from the first attack. The plan was to tape and tie up the box and relocate it several miles away in the hayfield of our pastor. We needed to wait until the sun went down in order to contain as many of the bees as possible (the foragers would be out working during the day). My husband started going down to check how many bees were on the outside of the hive probably around 6 p.m. He went down two more times, each time coming back up the hill with the news that there will still a lot of bees visible.
We were waiting and thinking we would go down after dark to finish this up. Between 7 and 7:30 p.m. I was out on our back sidewalk putting some frame pieces in the and pulling the trash can inside the garage. My husband came out on the deck which overlooks the valley. He glimpsed through the trees the bear already back at the hive! This was a big difference from 2:30 a.m.! This was evening - still light enough to see! The bear ran away, but not before he overturned the box of bees (those poor bees).
I sighed at the thought of dealing with another angry cluster of bees, but my husband and I discussed quickly giving it one more go. I suited up and quickly transferred those frames of bees and honey (which the bear didn't get down to the business of really eating yet) into an upturned hive body. The bees were angry again, and I have another sting on my left wrist. In my hurry (it was starting to get dark), I did not properly zip and seal my veil; so I ended up with some bees inside and tangled in my hair. God protected me; I had no stings to my face or scalp. Even after I un-suited and came up to the house I had a bee in my hair! Brings to mind some memories of me getting stuck in yellow-jacket nests with my horse, but that will be another post at another time. I would love to stress that honey bees are very, very gentle creatures with which I usually greatly enjoy working and handling.
My husband worked hard to put available deterrents around the bee box including used kitty litter, and vinegar, and the like. If we had more time, we could have bought ammonia; a suggestion had been to fill water balloons with ammonia and coat the balloon with peanut butter. We did not have balloons and ammonia on hand.
We went to bed last night (exhausted) knowing that we did the best we can, hoping that the bees would be spared through the night so we could proceed with their relocation.
This was not to "bee". The bear struck again in the night. If you are keeping count, this is the third attack in less than 24 hours. The hive is destroyed - bees and honey are lost. My husband just gave me the news at 6 a.m. I am discouraged but not defeated! We have learned a lot in these past days.
Reader, you will be seeing posts and pictures of our rebuilding efforts. A new package of bees, ordered last fall, is scheduled to arrive in 1.5 weeks. We are working on a location right next to our house, and the plan is to include a pen of electric fence. I am also determined today to file reports on this bear with both the Game Commission and the Police Department. With four small children in our household, a coop full of chickens, and a new hive of bees coming, I would like to make sure we follow-up with this bear. He has proved to be formidable and destructive, and we need to make sure we responsibly deal with him!
The journey continues; look for more bee news very soon. Thank you for reading and encouraging these past few days even. Here's to a fresh start. I have always been thankful for God's gift of a new day.