Bee Predators: Mites, Beetles and …Woodpeckers?

By Camilla Bee, Editor

I’ve had many low days in beekeeping—like my annual March discovery of how many hives didn’t overwinter, spotting a swarm (probably “my” bees) near my apiary but impossible to retrieve, and finding wax moth damage in a hive that before my vacation was seemingly going strong. That mess of worms and webs was almost more than I could stomach.

When I saw these pictures, they made me pause and reflect on my apiary issues. Thank goodness this wasn’t one of my hives.

Thanks to Jim Dunn for this reminder that no matter what disasters we find in our bee yards, it most likely can always be worse.

For this unlucky beekeeper, perhaps the silver lining was that he had less of a mess to deal with thanks to these opportunistic woodpeckers.

What happened?

Jim’s beekeeping buddy Tony had hives in an outyard on a farm. Tony got a call from the farmer, who had spotted two redheaded woodpeckers tearing up a hive.

After investigating, Jim and Tony speculate that the birds were after wax worms; the bees had already gone. There were four hives originally in the outyard. Two were lost to a downed tree and the other two had absconded for unknown reasons.

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