Bear in the Beeyard!

Bears love honeybees… but not in a good way.

Anyone who’s seen the aftermath of a beeyard bear attack knows all too well the destructive force of these big brutes. But can you blame them?

After all, a beehive makes the perfect meal for a hungry bear.

  • The bees are an excellent source of protein.
  • The larvae is loaded with carbs.
  • And of course, honey makes a sweet dessert.

If you have hives within sniffing distance of bear country, take steps to protect your hives BEFORE the first bear shows up. Once they’ve been rewarded, they’ll be back looking for more. Spring and fall are the highest risk seasons, when bears are looking for food after coming out of their dens or storing up for a long winter’s nap.

The number one deterrent for bears is electric fencing – commonly powered by a 12 volt car battery or a solar panel. The shock is delivered by a fence energizer which sends a brief high-voltage pulse through the wire. The fence should be at least three feet high and have 3 or 4 strands of wire about 8″ to 12″ apart with the bottom strand 8″ from the ground.

It should have some provision for the beekeeper to disable the power without going inside the fence. You’ll also need to keep the weeds down around the perimeter of the fence to prevent it from disrupting the current.

These are relatively easy to put up and are most effective if the suspect (aka bear) gets a zap on the nose rather than just crashing through the wires on the way to lunch. A few strips of bacon tied on the wire is irresistable and gets the the bear’s nose and mouth on the wire. One good zap should send it packing.

The fence energizers and batteries are a target for theft in remote areas. One way to keep yours safe is to place it in an empty hive and make it look like all the real bee hives.

Take a proactive approach and prevent the first incident by installing an electric fence and keeping the grounds around the apiary free of old wax, brood and honey.

(Oh, and by the way … bears are smart too. :-)

 

 

 

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