Every summer bears venture down from the mountains into our north-east Pasadena neighborhood. They are looking for food and every year there are reports of trash cans overturned or fruit trees raided. From what I've heard, few people in the neighborhood ever actually see a bear and even fewer seem concerned about the animals. Until this summer, I had experienced only one real bear encounter. Early one morning a couple of years ago, our dog surprised a bear who scrambled up a tree and then watched me while I took his picture. It was a fascinating morning.
Well, this summer I had another bear encounter. Actually, our bees suffered the encounter and I just watched. Last year we kept bees without any incident. No such luck this year. Above is a photo of our little five-box high bee hive. The hive had been healthy and happy all summer buzzing along and making honey. At about 2 am recently I heard our dog barking and watched out the window as a bear stood on its hind legs, put its paws against the top of the hive and knocked it over. The frames spilled out and the bear gorged itself on honey. It was a sad, sad sight.
Amazingly, though, the hive survived, was put back together and moved to a new home.