Well, Beehandler and Iddee, the critter hit again last night! I'm afraid Beehandler's right & it's a bear, but all the critter does is knock the hive over and leave a trail of empty comb back out to the woods. It never damages the frames (other than the damage sustained when the boxes are knocked over). That would leave me to believe it's teens like Iddee said, but then the trail would lead out to the road I would think; not to the woods!
When I went out to open the chickens this morning, there it was. One of my bigger hives just laying back in the wax myrtle and pine straw. They were mad, too. Got a few stings to my ankles before I had the good sense to go put on boots.
Should've known. . .and wasn't all surprised when I made the discovery this morning. The dogs were barking last night, especially my Girl, who was huffing and puffing under my bedroom window. . .usually those huffs and puffs mean a critter. And when my other dog, Petie, isn't barking, it usually means it's a big critter and he doesn't want to get involved. But I listened and looked out the window as best I could and saw nothing. I think I'm gonna have to hang a string of bells over the hives and hope the wind doesn't give me too many false alarms. I'd put in a movement sensitive floodlight, but hesitate to do so because of those same winds.
The bad news is while I was trying to reassemble the hive, it was raining and there was thunder in the background! Hadn't even brushed my teeth yet and had to contend with rain, thunder, the dang rooster crowing over and over, and angry, stinging bees! The good news is
I found the queen! There was a lump of bees on the ground, all mixed into the pine straw (do you know what a dickens it is trying to pull bees out of pine straw?), so I got my dustpan and loaded the girls onto the dustpan, pine straw and all, and then put them on top of the inner cover so that I could pull out the pine straw as they meandered down into the hive. On the third try. . .there she was!!! As regal as can be. I took her majesty and placed here within the hive, not on the inner cover. Hope it works and that all will settle down and be well.
Must admit, I still haven't been inside the hive that got vandalized the other night. Now I have two to look in on.
Beehandler, I need you to come help me strap these hives together so that next time (and now I'm sure there will be a next time), I'll just have to summon superpower to pick the whole thing up at one time and put it back on its stand.