Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Dandelion Season! And Beehive Maintenance - With Some Bear Trouble.

What is there to not like about dandelion season?  We just get past the cold, dismal, tones of grey, white, and black winter and suddenly, with the greening of the grass we have all these fuzzy, golden, lollipop-sized faces popping up out of the grass to help us greet the sun!  How can one not help but smile?

Sadly, in a week or so, these beautiful little faces turn into not so pretty grey puffs which are the enemy!  (Kids love them though.  How many kids can pass up a perfectly formed dandelion puff?)  Many folks do all we can to get them out of our lawns.  I've accepted them as a wonderful early season food for my honeybees and just don't worry about them anymore.  Just last spring, one of my maple sap collecting friends pointed out how entirely ironic it is how we absolutely love dandelions when we first see the cheery color in the spring, and as the summer wears on we do all we can do to get rid of them.  Funny, isn't it? 

“If dandelions were hard to grow, they would be most welcome on any lawn.”
                                           ~Andrew V. Mason

I had some beehive maintenance today.  As I drove home from substitute teaching at the high school I looked up the hill and saw that one of my hives was tilting at a  dangerous angle.  I rushed home, put on my outside work clothes and went back.  I didn't bring the smoker or any equipment (other than my bee suit) because I thought it would be a quick job of tilting up the hive and putting a few boards underneath it.  I thought one of the blocks the hives set on had settled.  I was very wrong.  The hive had slid on it's bottom board and as I attempted to move it into place the bees came boiling up out of it (thankfully I had suited up!) and they had only one goal in life.  To sting the crap out of me!  So I worked around and got a temporary fix with some boards tucked under the blocks and hive until tomorrow when I'll go back to do a full hive inspection and fix it right.  One of the little buggers stung me on the bicep - right through my suit!   

                                                                   bear line.gif

As I walked back to my van, Rocky, the property owner, came out and told me that the hive had NOT fallen over on its own, but that a bear had climbed the fence and pulled the hive over.  We knew this, because there was a great big hunk of black bear fur stuck in the barbed wire that tops the outer fence!  I don't know what stopped the bear, but it didn't destroy the hive.  We hadn't hooked up the electric fence that we have set up around the hives yet because we were having trouble finding a clamp for the ground wire.  Rocky gave me a hose clamp and with a lot of messing around and rigging up (all with about 50 bees doing their best to sting me in the face through my veil) I managed to get the fence going.  I touched it and it gave me a nice jolt - a three mile solar fencer on about 50 feet of wire has quite a bit of juice!  Now, I'm hoping, hoping, hoping that bear doesn't come back tonight - or if it does, that it gets such a shock that it decides to stay away forever!  


  1. I love dandelions too. :-) Gotta love them...even if they dont last too terribly long. Great post.

  2. Luv the bee story. The dandelions I can do without. I don't have any...thank you....thank you. Have a great day.