Skunks

babsbag

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I know that skunks can wipe out a hive but will I see scratches on the hive if they are bothering it?

This is the firs time in 7 years that I have smelled a skunk in my area. It isn't strong, like they sprayed, just a general all around odor. I have a hive here and I noticed yesterday that there appears to be very few bees. I wasn't able to go in and look, it was raining and super windy but I think if there are any left they are being robbed. I saw meat bees going into the hive too and not being chased out.

2 weeks ago it was still hot here and the bees were bearding. The coming and going from the hive was very active and I had bees all over my flowers. Now this ???? I hope to go in tomorrow and check, weather permitting, but I am not holding out much hope. I am wondering if the skunk has been visiting my hive.

This hive is a split that I bought from a local beekeeper. He sells 4 frames of bees and brood with a queen after he pulls them from the almond pollination and I thought it would be a better start than a package but I have been very disappointed. I bought 3 splits and pretty sure I have lost 2. I know that 2 of the 3 have NO honey in the super, not even drawn comb. I know we are in a drought here, but I have never had hives do this poorly. They don't even have enough honey to hold their own this winter, not that they need to since I don't think they are there anymore.

So frustrating....
 

Happy Chooks

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We have skunks in the area, and I was told that if your hive is raised up off the ground, it will help. They don't like exposing their bellies. I haven't seen any evidence of them trying to get into the hive.

Did you get your bees this year? My bees going into their first winter did not have enough stores to keep them going. I supplemented with 2:1 sugar water on warmer days and a winter patty put into the hive. This gave them enough to make it through winter.

I hope your hive is doing alright. :fl
 

babsbag

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I bought the bees as a split last Mar. I was prepared to feed them this winter if needed. I have had bees for about 6 years now and it seems that every hive I get has a harder time making it through the winter. The first few years I had bees I could take a full super of honey and still have the 2 bottom boxes full, one usually brood and one honey. Now if I get any honey the first year I am surprised. I am thrilled if they can even feed themselves.

I will be buying a pkg. next year and not a split and then feed feed feed in the spring and see if that helps.

I have never had a hive survive more than 2 winters. :(
 

Happy Chooks

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I didn't take any honey from them the first year. I let mine keep it, and I still had to supplement over winter. This year I harvested honey.

I'm sorry that your hives aren't lasting past 2 years. That is strange. I hope you have better luck soon.
 

babsbag

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There were NO bees in the hive, none dead, none alive other than some meat bees and some robbers. Very little honey capped, a lot of pollen stored. No brood to talk about. I will freeze the frames for next year when I try again.

A month ago there were literally hundreds on the front of the hive when it was hot. The activity was high. I didn't check for brood then, but in July they looked great, other than no honey in the super, but with the drought that didn't surprise me.

I have some used hive boxes I bought...have been using them for about 3 years, they are going to the burn pile. I don't see any sign of foul brood or any other disease but I am taking no chances. But there are no dead bees, that is what is strange.

Skunk is still on the top of my suspect list.
 

babsbag

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I guess that is a CA term. :)

It is a yellowjacket. When we go camping or have a barbeque they are a real pest and they want your meat. Hot dogs, hamburgers, bologna, steak. They like meat; hence the name meat bee, but they aren't really a bee, they are a wasp. And they bite, they don't sting like a bee.
 

elbesta

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A yellowjacket can sting and keep on stinging. We were camping and the DW got stung inside the lip when she took a bite of a chicken leg without looking at it. WOW! what a scream!
 
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