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Barley Flats (Angeles Crest)

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Walking the site to check the ground and the fence wiring. Checking the flora available for the bees. The site itself will support 65-85 hives; The yellow box at the entrance is filled with the Africanized bee which serves as a 'guard' bee. This bee tends to be a soldier bee, although it does bring in honey but it is very territorial and quite relentless in her defense thereof. The bee has been known to follow the 'intruder' 3 football field lengths, while in constant bombardment. I can testify to that myself. Barley Flats is in a remote area and not frequented by many hikers, but bears and other intruders are not uncommon. Barley Flats lies deep in the forest region with spectacular vistas, misty skies and unusual moon rises.

2008 saw little flowering nectar for the bees. An overwhelming invasion of red ants literally overwhelmed the site. Ants savagely attacked the bees as they touched down from flight. We think that the unusual heat brought in the ants, as this had not happened to the site before. A bear attack demolished many hive boxes days prior to our bee removal; bees were killed, honey taken, box frames demolished. The largest hive box, which was completely disturbed, stood 5 supers high - almost a full 5 feet high. 85 hives were removed and transported to the alfalfa fields in Lancaster at the end of June.

Barley Flats - Klaus checks the site area Barley Flats - Africanized bees serve as guard bees for the site. Barley Flats - around the area Barley Flats - around the area 2 Barley Flats - canyon route Barley Flats - Looking towards Mount Wilson

After deciding to move the hives from the Barley Flat site to the alfalfa fields in Palmdale/Lancaster due to an unusual infestation of red ants, it took us several days to return to the site; in the interim a bear had intruded, pushing over hives 4-5 supers high (very heavy colonies), eating the honey and leaving the boxes open. The sun (we had just experienced a heat spell) had baked many of the colonies now trapped in the over spilt honey to a black char while others were trying to survive the cold nights and blazing day sun (their hives now exposed and left opened). Frames were scattered and broken; honey was scratched out and eaten, as were the contents of the several colonies.

Barley Flats - the heat melted the wax on the lid to which the bees got trapped and baked Barley Flats - Bees struggle to survive Barley Flats - Bees struggle to survive 2 Barley Flats - Bees struggle to survive 3

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