Saturday, July 5, 2008

Back In Business

The Three Bears notwithstanding, we have bees on the property again. Initially, there were two hives that had been placed on the property last August. Jerry (along with his bee-mentor Dan) had nursed these two hives along all year. The honey we sampled in May was delicious. Golden and clear - really tasty! We were very exited about the possibilities that were ahead - a lucrative honey crop would be a great way to start off. We were just waiting for the opportunity to be here long enough to extract the honey - and then the bears came.
Three of them, the neighbor said. Now, I'm not saying it's those three bears, but you really have to chuckle at the visual that comes to mind. Hardly threatening when you think of the Goldilocks situation. But these three bears were seen crossing North Bush Road and we can only assume that they were the bears who dessimated the hives. I mean dessimated. Tops torn off and strewn about the area. The inner workings of the hives (frames) were pulled out and stripped clean. The honey (about 200 pounds per hive) was gone. All of it. It was a crime scene. And the perps had moved on. Jerry spent hours putting the remains back together and trying to make one whole hive out of it. He was able to do that and hoped that the bees who had survived the massacre would come back home. He tied down the remaining hive with nylon straps and secured it to the ground with stakes. It was tight. Unfortunately, at that time we had to return to Long Island for a week. So, back we went hoping for the best.
The following weekend we returned to Caroga Lake and our worst fears were confirmed. The three bears had returned to what I was now referring to as Jerry's Diner. Jerry sometimes fails to get my sense of humor, but I digress.
The remaining hive was not only infiltrated, but they had carried it off about 20 feet into the woods. Again, ripped open and scraped for any honey residue that had been left after the first break-in. Again, we had been wiped out.
This was bad news for the bears, because now Jerry was pissed off. He was taking this personally, and he was out for justice. Lucky for us, Tractor Supply is just 8 miles down the road in Gloversville. Jerry went and purchased a 25x25 set up of electrical fencing. He enlisted Dan the Bee Guy to help him set it up. They spent an entire day searching out the best location, setting the posts and hooking up the solar powered electrical fence. Our little piece of heaven now looks like Guantanimo Bay, but our honey is secure. We can only hope that the three bears have moved on for good. I'd hate to see one of them get zapped. I kind of feel as though they are part of the family, we've been feeding them so well. Jerry feels differently. I think he would enjoy seeing one of them as part of our Adirondack decor. I won't elaborate on that thought.
So, with the secure fence in place, Jerry introduced a swarm to his hives, and will check today to see if we have a Queen. I don't totally understand how you can plunge your hand (without gloves) into a five gallon pail of swarming honey bees and just pour it out into the hive. I guess after you have retired from the Police Department, where there is the potential for danger and injury every day on the job, how else could you replace that for a career. It does begin to make sense. It's not for everyone. I will admire his courage and enjoy the honey. From a distance. Take care - Jen

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