Unwelcome visit– from a bear
This belongs in the "do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do" department. Even though the town I live in is not exactly wilderness, there are regular sightings of black bears here. Two of my hives got totally destroyed by a bear less than five miles from my house a few years ago. So it's good, standard practice here to have an electric fence around hives to discourage bears.
But, I didn't follow my own advice for two hives in my back yard, and a couple weeks ago, I found one of two hives knocked off its stand, with a lot of very angry bees. Luckily, there was a lot of propolis gumming the frames together, so even though all the supers were knocked off the stand, not a single frame fell out. I decided it must have been a skunk or a raccoon– the supers were intact, not smashed like I'd seen a few years ago. So I just used a couple of heavy nylon straps to attach both hives tightly together and to the hive stand (2 4×4's on cinder blocks). No raccoon or skunk could tip over that much weight.
This morning I went out back, and saw the same hive knocked over, straps flung about, frames scraped and dragged off onto the lawn. A pretty big lilac branch was freshly broken near the side of the hive stand, too, from something with considerable strength. No question in my mind that this was from a bear.
This put me in a bad mood for the whole day. I have now put up a little electric fence around the hives, and I've put a grounded chunk of galvanized screen directly under the fence. About half an hour ago, I opened up a can of anchovies, put most of them back into the fridge, but I left one in the can and hung it snugly on the fence wire above the grounded screen. (It was dark, by then, so I saw quite a nice spark when it connected.) A bear licking that can will remember the experience, I hope, and not visit my hives again.
I've used this technique before with a piece of bacon on the fence wire, and it has worked really well to train bears to keep away. I just hope the hive can make it through winter now, with all the hits it has taken at a key time of year.
Sorry to hear of your problem. I hope the hive makes it.
What do you use as the power source for your electric fence?
I now have now tried quite a little collection of fence chargers. With one exception, all of mine are relatively small (0.15 Joules or so) solar chargers with a small internal 12v. battery. One bigger charger (2 Joules) powers a much large fence and it runs off an external deep cycle battery charged by a little solar panel.
Since the bear incursion was kind of an emergency, I borrowed a spare A/C powered charger from a friend. It's rare that my hives are ever close enough to use fence charger powered by house current, though.