We caught a perpetrator who has been suspected of eating bees. Skunks are a common nuisance for beekeepers. They visit the hives at night and eat any bees that come out of the hive to see what is going on. You know you have a skunk if the area around the bottom of the hive is scratched up and muddy.
We caught this skunk on Saturday and proceeded to engage in the "skunk removal" process (for all of you skunk rights activists that is all you need to know). We have not seen further evidence of skunks (although we did catch a raccoon, who we suspect has been a prisoner of ours previously) but we plan to proceed with skunk preventative techniques.
The way to keep skunks away from the hive is to put a piece of 1/2 in piece of hardware cloth between the hive and the block or the base. This keeps the skunks from feeding on the hive bees and hopefully will send the message that is best for them to be on their way. You can see from the pictures the tell-tale signs of skunk scavenging and the perpetrator himself.