This blog explains how I keep bees. It works for me, it might not work for you. Use my methods at your own risk. Always wear protective clothing and use a smoker when working bees.

Search This Blog

Thursday, September 5, 2019

How Skunk Raids A Hive

This video shows how skunks raid a hive. Most of us have our hives on the ground. If a skunk starts coming around, they will eat the bees at the entrance. The author of the video is right on how the skunks scratch at the entrance and eat the bees as they come out of the hive.
 The front of the hive gives us clues that prove a skunk is coming at night. Trampled grass in front of the hive, mud or dirt at the entrance of the hive where the skunk is scratching. When you work the bees they can become very defensive from the skunk bothering the hive. Noticing the bees are defensive is a clue that something is setting them off. One note, bees in September and October are usually defensive, it is not from skunks, it is because there is no nectar flow and many field bees are home in the hive and they are not happy to see you.
 I do think a skunk can depopulate a hive with time and the hives population will suffer.
 The author of the video is not concerned of this loss of bees. But, for me I would react differently. Many of us have bear fences that usually keep out skunks and opossums. If you don't have a bear fence, carpet tack strips attached to a board located at the entrance of the hive works well for keeping the skunk away from the entrance. The tack strips have small nails sticking up and are like punji sticks. The skunks won't walk on them. Some beekeepers put chicken wire in front of the entrance. The bees can fly through the chicken wire while keeping the bees away from the entrance.
 Skunks are creatures of habit. They will usually come at the same time at night to raid your hive. A trail camera set up by the hive will also confirm that it is a skunk and when the skunk is visiting.