The guy I'm learning about beekeeping from lost a hive to a bear last week. The bear managed to step over the three foot high electric fence, pick up both deeps and then made off to a nearby field where he ate his fill. Bears are a real serious nuisances where I live. Thats why I built a wooden post, high tensil steel woven wire fence. I put an electric wire around the top and bottom of it also. I thought it was a bit excessive at first but after seeing what a bear can do I'm glad to have it. I'm think of approaching some local beekeeping club members about having me install the same fencing around their hives. It's a little expensive but compared to losing all your equipment every other year it makes a lot of sense. How is everyone else dealing with any wildlife nuisances?
I have a bear wandering around where my hives are as well but as of yet, he hasn't bothered my hives. I have an electric fence around them 12V marine battery. 1 Joule inverter, and 3 strands of 12 gauge wire surrounding the hives. Thinking about a 2 Joule as it is stronger voltage. 1 Joule is 5,000 Volts and 2 Joule is 10,000 Volts. Probably will ad another strand of wire as well. Keeping my fingers crossed!
So far so good - but I have been finding skunk paw prints in all the mud (yes mud, imagine that) around my yard. I haven't seen any direct damage to the hives but i have my suspicions.
A mother and her cubs got into one of my fences and pulled an empty deep off and ate all of the foundation. All of the bees were in the untouched box. After that I upgraded my fence to 13 t posts and 8 strands of wire plus strands X'd from the top of one post to the bottom of the next. They've been back but haven't gotten in again
Over the years have been hit three times. First time I was stupid and did not have an electric fence. Second time I was stupid and did not set up the fence, since I was moving. Third time I was stupid and did not realize the charger had failed. I use a 3-foot high net/mesh fence, with a solar charger. The fence is up year-round. I see bear spore, so I know they are out there, but they have never come through this set up in over 10 years, as long as the charger is working. It is a lot less hassle and a lot easier to set up than the wire electric fence I built around my chicken enclosure, which shorted out in the snow this winter allowing a pair of fisher cats to climb over and wipe out my flock. Next year I am tearing out the wire fence and going with another mesh fence, which uses alternating positive - negative wires, so it will run all winter. Would have saved myself a lot of time, money and loss, if I had just gone with the mesh fence for the chickens from the beginning.
I also have potential bear problems. Bear tear into the bird feeders and totally devastate them in the spring and fall of every year just across the road from my 20 hives. I have 4 strands of ribbon wire on 5 foot fiber glass stakes with insulators, all hooked to a solar powered jell pack. 3 years ago I had bear tracks on 3 sides of the fence, where he walked around checking it all out, but left it all alone. I feel lucky, because I've bumped into the fence while on and I don't think it packs much of a whollup. It feels like your getting jabbed with a blunt nail. We have had far too many bear in our area for too many years. They are becoming a major nuisance with bird feeders, garbage cans and anything left out that smells good.
I will be setting up my bee yard in the spring and there are bears in the area.
What do you all think of placing bear board around the hives inside of an area surrounded by electric fence? This would be a 4 foot span of plywood on the ground surrounding the hives, with nails sticking up through it spaced 2" apart. If the bear comes through the fence then it would have to walk on the nails to get to the hives.