Another Threat to Honey Bees: Bears
Do bears attack bee hives?
According to our farmer friend Leigh Hauter, they most definitely do. In his most recent letter to CSA subscribers, Leigh describes how bears dismantled no less than seven of his best “survivor” hives, meaning bees that produce year after year. About this time last year, he came upon three bears–a mother and two cubs–and caught them in the act.
“The trio had already knocked the hive off its stand, upsetting the boxes, and were busy pulling frames (those are the contraptions beekeepers put inside their hives for the bees to build comb on) and pigging out (bearing out I guess is a more accurate word) on honey,” Leigh writes.
“Using their paws to gouge out huge handfuls of wax, pollen and honey. Smearing the sticky mess in and around their mouths.”
Without considering whether the bears might attack him, Leigh started jumping up and down, waving his arms and screaming at the bears to frighten them off. The two cubs looked at him for a moment, then turned and ran off into the woods through a hole in deer fencing. The mother soon followed.
This week, Leigh says he was reminded of the beehive incident when he came across a young black bear in the driveway of his farm outside Middleburg, Virginia.
Something to think about next time you go to purchase a pint of local honey at the farmers market.