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Thoughts On Bees & Bears

15 Sep

IMG_4115 (768x1024)

Life around the Big Cedars gets interesting sometimes.

Like last week, when our neighbors told us about multiple sightings of a black bear near our house. A very skinny black bear.

We live off the beaten path and our house sits in the woods about a half mile from the main road, hidden by trees. One of my goals for setting down permanent roots was to live in a place where I couldn’t see a mercury light at night in any direction.

Mission accomplished.

Of course this means we are in the middle of critter habitat as well, and you never know what might wander by. We have had deer, turkeys, bobcats, raccoons, armadillos and other various and sundry visitors.

We have not seen the bear ourselves.

But it did prompt me to recover the honey my bee minion have been producing all summer. If anyone is going to be the recipient of that liquid gold it’s going to be ME…not some random bear no matter how skinny or not skinny he may be.

Bears are not common this far north in Missouri, but sightings have been growing.

After their reports, I decided to take action and pulled off the super of honey.

IMG_4116 (1024x768)It’s a slow, sticky process. I wear a bee suit, gloves and screened headnet. Luckily I didn’t get stung this time. The trickiest part is getting all the bees off of the frames before bringing them into the house to cut out and stick in my homemade honey extracting bucket.

I have to brush bees off the frames several times on the trip from the hive to my front porch.

IMG_4113 (768x1024)By some miracle only one bee made it inside the house.

I’ll probably get around  2 1/2 gallons of honey from the one super I pulled off. The rest I left for the bees for winter. Hopefully the bear won’t find the hive. He’ll tear it to shreds if he does.

My beekeeping philosophy the past three years has been To Bee or Not To Bee. A survival of the fittest approach as I have done absolutely nothing for them except trim the weeds in front of the hive. This has been my third successful season for honey using this philosophy and so has cost me on average $30 a year instead of the $100 a year it had previously.

Beekeeping is not a money making venture in the Big Cedars.

But it is sweet when it’s successful.

 
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Posted by on September 15, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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