|Daylily Hive with skunk guard|
Apparently skunks think honeybees are quite a delicacy. Skunks are nocturnal and so work at night, but are still able to bother a hive by scratching at the entrance. Guard bees come out to investigate and the skunk finishes them off. It's a problem that can decimate a colony and even drive them off to find new quarters.
A popular skunk deterrent is a "bed of nails" placed in front of the hive. Nails can be driven through a thin piece of plywood or carpet scrap and placed with nail points upward so that a skunk would have to walk on them to get to the hive entrance. I didn't want to do that because of our cats, but I liked the fence idea given to me by fellow beek RonC. Apparently striped skunks (the kind we have here) aren't climbers and won't attempt to get over the fence.
It took a ten-foot length of welded wire to completely circle the concrete base on which the hive sits (repurposed brick pillar tops saved from our front porch demolition). I cut the four-foot wide fencing down a bit so I can still remove the top of the hive. It's held together in a circle by carabiners.
So far so good. Let's just hope it stays that way.