Thursday, January 15, 2015

Masked Bandits

(Catching up on beekeeping in 2014)

Cue the music from the Mission Impossible movie.

I don't know if it's one or a little band but there are some very clever raccoons at The Pines bee yard.

[Photo: Bonne nuit by Stefan Ilic on Fivehundredpx ]

Every time I showed up at the yard I'd see pails I'd left on top of the hives were knocked to the ground and completely licked clean. These hives were 4 or
5 supers high so whoever climbed up them is a real pro.

I could not figure out how the raccoons are getting on top of these hives. They are stacked tall with supers. But then I saw these Pinterest Pins and I think I know how they're doing it.

The area at the back of the hive I have a couple bricks covering the bottom opening where the sticky board is.

I'd also have a flap of board over the opening. Not only were the bricks pulled away and the flaps removed but amazingly the raccoon had put it's paw in the pull string and pulled to slide out the sticky board. And licked it clean. Now that's one way to clean sticky boards and get rid of mites.

 I have plenty of raccoons at my home in the subdivision but these "conservation area" raccoons had a level of sophistication with human objects that was surprising.... until I thought a little bit more... The conservation area is next to Fanshawe Lake and on this lake about one km away is a large camp site. I'm pretty sure these are savvy campsite raccoons.

That's a whole different animal. They're tent zipper, cooler opener, get into everything experts. They get lots of practise every night all summer long. So I used duct tape to hold the flaps closed. So far it's worked.

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