A close call

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.

treefall1You 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”.

treefall2As 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).

treefall3I’ll gadly take two hours of chainsaw work in a bee suit over picking up destroyed hives any day.

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2 Responses to A close call

  1. Secondtimearound says:

    Hope all is well for you out West. Winter has finally set in here in the Great Lakes area. Wondering how the bee monitoring system is working out and are you getting any usable data from it? Is the data the system gathers getting transmitted to your host computer properly? What distances are you getting? I want to install them in my hives and I am going to set up a remote 2 or 3 hive apiary and would like Your feedback before I commit my bucks to the technology. I like the off the grid setup you built……I would appreciate Your input. Thank You in advance. Tom K.

    • jim says:

      Hi Tom
      Well, to be honest, I am having some trouble with the system. The premise of it is sound and most of the engineering is good, but it’s having trouble handling the massive amount of data that is coming out of 8 sensors at once. When i tested it with one or two, it worked OK. But bear in mind that the system is still in beta testing, so some of the software has “rough edges” and is not as user-friendly as would be ideal. If you are a techie then you would probably do fine with it, but if you aren’t comfortable with a little backend work on the computer side, you may want to wait.

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