Almost a year ago today, I had the biggest bee disaster of my life: a bear attacked my apiary, killing 7 colonies. It was a sad a dramatic day I will never forget. This November, though, my luck seems to have changed. During a freak lighting storm a few days ago, a bolt struck a giant spruce tree mid-height, exploding the wood and sending the top half of a big tree tumbling down towards my Foley Creek apiary. My friend Ryan showed it to me yesterday, when I was making the rounds.
You always have to get nervous when someone stars the conversation with “I have something to show you, but the bees are OK…” Turns out that by some miracle, the tree fell between my apiary and the orchard, narrowly missing both. It completely destroyed the deer fence around the orchard and also squashed the electric bear fence around the hives. Honestly, that’s not a bid deal. In fact, the bear fence was a portable type, and I may not even have to replace any parts… it’s hard to tell right now, because it’s under a giant tree. But I couldn’t be more relieved. If the tree had fallen about 15 more degrees to the west, it would have bullseyed all 8 hives, putting “tree” even higher on the list of bee-killers than “bear”.
As it is, I still have some work to do. Farmer Ned offered to put a chain on the tree and drag it away with his tractor, but that’s not a good plan, as the limbs are all entangled with the hive stands, and it would probably knock half the hives over. So I’m going to go back out once the weather clears up a little, with bee suit and chainsaw, and cut that thing up so I can get the fence fixed and even get to the hives (the tree is also across the access road).
I’ll gadly take two hours of chainsaw work in a bee suit over picking up destroyed hives any day.