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  1. #1
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    Default Lets talk bears again

    I need some more input on bear proofing our beehives. Our vermont hives have been completely wipped out by bears this season. Like I said before electric fencing is useless, so we need some alternative ideas. One problem bear was shot during bear season, but there re at least two more. The state will not issue a pest permit to shoot any of them out of season. Baiting the electric fence is against the law in this state as it is in many others so that is out.
    Always question Conventional Wisdom.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Lets talk bears again

    Electric fence is the best way to go...if it isn't working then I would say it's the materials and how you are setting it up that is the problem.

    Here in Colorado and in the Rocky Mountains we have lots of bears and big black bears. Our fences hold up very well and the only damage we get if from yards not fenced in. We don't bait our fences either. They are just built strong and with lots of juice.

    Check out these plans from the Dept. of Wildlife that we use. It gives the layout and materials needed. I also included pics and closeups so you can get an idea of how to construct it.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/2695954...76874/sizes/l/
    Life is tough, but it's tougher when you're stupid. John Wayne

  3. #3

    Default Re: Lets talk bears again

    Lets talk bears again
    Now what I do?

    Big Bear
    No, I am NOT a bee "Keeper". Anything I post is just my opinion. Take it easy and think for yourself.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Lets talk bears again

    I have found that a pitchfork is very useful cleaning up afterward.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Lets talk bears again

    Quote Originally Posted by bluegrass View Post
    Baiting the electric fence is against the law in this state as it is in many others so that is out.
    Bait it(hot wires) anyways. If they(gov.) want to give you a hard time for that then start sending them the bills for the damage. When it comes down to it you have the right to protect your livestock. Start using lead!

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Lets talk bears again

    Well over the last 15-20 years we have used electric fencing every time we had bear problems and it does not matter how exspensive the charger or how strong the fence, the bear walks right through it. My conclusion on it is that the difference is in the area the bear grow up in...... Out west they are unlikely to run into an electric fence unless they are at a bee yard, here every time they walk into a field they run into an electric fence.

    Baiting is out...partly because I respect the law secondly the local warden watches our yard and is nice enough to suit up and fix our hives every time they are hit..... problem is that after being hit multiple times over the past season they are all very weak at this point.

    I am thinking about using hog pannels and mounting them on heavy posts, insulating them and then charging the whole thing.... short of that I think we have a few bears that need hunting.
    Always question Conventional Wisdom.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Lets talk bears again

    Quote Originally Posted by bluegrass View Post
    I need some more input on bear proofing our beehives. Our vermont hives have been completely wipped out by bears this season. Like I said before electric fencing is useless, so we need some alternative ideas. One problem bear was shot during bear season, but there re at least two more. The state will not issue a pest permit to shoot any of them out of season. Baiting the electric fence is against the law in this state as it is in many others so that is out.
    Have you tried the Search function on the site?

    There are more threads on this topic than you can imagine complete with examples of solutions and strategies for discouraging bears as well as examples of different state laws on what you can and cannot do for yourself.
    Milk Cows Not Taxpayers

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Lets talk bears again

    Thanks.... I think it is generally safe to guess that after three years and nearly 1000 posts that a member is well aware of the search feature and how to use it

    Search bears and you get hundreds of threads, many of which have nothing to do with keeping bears out of the bee yard...... Some of our members have bear in their user name and people like packaging honey in little plastic bears so there are more threads that are not about keeping bears out making it not worth while to shift through them and re-read the threads that I have been over already dozens of times.

    It is generally a good idea to start up a thread that has been covered before because the forum is constantly acquiring new members who may have tried something that wasn't mentioned in an old thread. Somebody who has been a member for a long time may have found something that works for them, but forgot to post about it.
    Always question Conventional Wisdom.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Lets talk bears again

    A search for "Electric Fence" yields piles of juicy self serve options including....

    12 V Fence Chargers http://www.beesource.com/forums/show...electric+fence

    Hive Tipped Over...what did it http://www.beesource.com/forums/show...electric+fence

    Big Bad Bear Story http://www.beesource.com/forums/show...electric+fence

    **** Electric Fencing Ideas **** http://www.beesource.com/forums/show...electric+fence

    Need a Bear Expert http://www.beesource.com/forums/show...electric+fence

    The list goes on and on.

    I'm not trying to be critical, just pointing out that many many many people have posted the same issue and there is a plethora of info for anyone willing to make a cursory search.
    Milk Cows Not Taxpayers

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Lets talk bears again

    [QUOTE=bluegrass;488006]Baiting is out...partly because I respect the law secondly the local warden watches our yard and is nice enough to suit up and fix our hives every time QUOTE]

    Have you pointed out to him the chance not having to fix your hives if you were able to cause the bear to get zapped by touching the baited fence first instead of charging through them. Why is it illegal to make a bear fence effective with bait. Has your DNR agent acquired advice from other states that have these bear issues. My WI DNR agent suggests that I bait the fence. If they are not reimbursing you for the damage do what you HAVE to do to protect your property. I'm not trying to cause trouble with you and the law. If your DNR agent is that good of a guy give him this web address(beesource) so he can see the ways many people deal with their bear problems. After him reading what some do(legally and illegally) he might have the "jurisdiction" to give you a "permit" to bait your fence to make it effective. He might have the power(voice of a professional) to get the law changed(by speaking to others) so all beekeepers in your state can make their fences more effective. Maybe he enjoys piecing together hives that are doomed to fail from the destruction of the bears.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Lets talk bears again

    bluegrass,
    Have you tried the dual/double grounding method for your bear fence lay out.
    Ernie
    Ernie
    My websitehttp://bees4u.com/

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Lets talk bears again

    I have been told for bear you need to have a hot wire top and bottom and ground wire in the middle and have 2 - 6' ground rods driven deep. I use solar Parr-Mac chargers, I have also been told the wire size needs to be small. My experience is with cattle only, but some people have shared their bear experiences with me.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Lets talk bears again

    Not sure why people ask things then ignore advice. We don't use strands here because they don't work. We use wire mesh or hog wire as it is called in some areas. The bears can't run though it they have to go over it. That was why I provided a link that listed the materials. anyway, the last thing that I can advise is that once a bear has hit a yard it is very, very hard to keep him out, especially if you aren't doing anything active to keep him out so maybe a 16 ft high 10 gauge fence with concertina wire may do the trick.

    Good luck on your fort...
    Life is tough, but it's tougher when you're stupid. John Wayne

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Lets talk bears again

    LOL thanks.

    The hog wire is what I have in mind at this point.

    It is hard for me to really manage the problem from 1000 miles away, but we only plan to be absent for one more year. Some of the hives were moved into a shed and the bear ripped the door off of the shed and helped himself to the hives. The door was fixed and and a tractor bucket parked against the door and he used the bucket as a staging area from which to break the top of the door and enter the shed for the second time..... Good news is that that bear is now a rug thanks to a neighbor who hunts bear.

    This is the first time we had bear trouble two years in a row... in the past we would get hit one year and then it would be three or four before we had a problem again.

    The reason the DFW will not issue a permit on the remaining bears is because we do not make our living off of the bees... if we were a commercial operation it would be a different story.

    For now the bears are hibernating and I am brain storming for next season. My wife's Grandfather wants to build a deck on top of the barn and move the hive up on the roof....sounds like a bad idea to me as he tends to run around flapping his arms when the guards start bouncing off of his veil
    Last edited by honeyman46408; 12-28-2009 at 01:23 PM. Reason: UNQ
    Always question Conventional Wisdom.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Lets talk bears again

    How many hives do you have? If they will fit on a 16 ft. sq. use stock panels welded wire. Some farm supply carry fiberglass posts made from sucker rod. You can drill them and bolt the panels on. Stake down chicken wire at least 3ft wide grounded to the fence charger+ 2 ground rods. I use a Patriot P30 they are either 12V of 110v. Keep the grass off the fence and a bear should not get through it. (Famous last words) you might tie some cloth to the fence using some bacon grease in the cloth so the knots will slide tight.
    Dan

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Lets talk bears again

    We have enough equipment here for about 15 hives, but we only have two that might have a chance of making it the winter. I will be sending some more Nucs up this spring to re-establish these hives with.... I think the woven wire or hog pannel is going to be the way to go...... hope it works or we will have to get out of the bee business in this area until I am back up here full time and can get some hunting in.
    Always question Conventional Wisdom.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Lets talk bears again

    In 54 years I have been hit by bear only once and that yard was in town and not protected at all.

    Now, I keep my few hives in total wilderness, (nobody around for miles) I do have a good bear fance - a permanent one.
    That is: Thick wooden posts, cemented in the ground. Seven strands of barbed wire: Bottom one is live and about 4-5" from the ground and each additional one is about 10" above the previous one. From first one, live one, every second one is live!
    So, if bear tries to push through, it will shock him good, cause he is well grounded - by more ways than one!

    Around the fence, on the ground, I laid a 36' wide chicken wire and that is pegged to the ground with "tent pegs" but where there is rock - chicken wire is looped with a peace of copper wire and this cemented to the rock. All live wires are on two opposite corners wired together with insulated wire. Of course the insulation is striped off, where wires are connected/wrapped around fence wire.
    The negative wires are also on two corners connected/wired together and than one end is stripped of insulation and threaded back and forth through the chicken wire on the ground. Thus the negative/grounding arrangement is foolproof!

    (But grass should be regularly clipped under the fence that can't short out your fence!)

    If clipping is too much of a chore, spread some Calcium, salt, vinegar or some other way prevent the grass from growing to the bottom wire - or any live wire for that matter.
    There is of course a gate area, where barbed wire is connected to a spring-loaded plastic gate handles. By the gate is the fencer, which is mounted on the inside of a wooden post and covered to keep off the rain. Marine/RV batery is hidden in a small box whic resembles a nuc. One can house the batery in a normal hive. (to hide it from the thieves)
    Live wires on the posts are of course mounted on insulators.

    Some warning signs hung on all sides are a good idea maybe even a requirement in your parts?

    If you have children about, it is a good idea that the negative wires be hung on the outside of the fence posts, live wires on the inside. (in case the kid gets stuck on a wire)
    In such cases the wires should be arranged a bit closer together, say six inches apart, to prevent small rodents - like raccoons and skunks from crawling through.

    This fence is powered by the biggest fencer you can find! 6000 to 7000 volts is good.

    Now the contraversial part?!:

    Most people, magazines, books and even supply houses will propagate baiting the fence wires?

    Most bear experts and those of us who live in dense bear country, will tell you that that is not a smart thing to do.
    I should mention that I live in perhaps the most saturated bear habitat in north America. We have here an estimated 200,000 bears?! They are as thick as black flies - (since our government banned the Spring hunt!?)
    If you have a mind to bait the fence, that is your business? But I wouldn't!
    If baiting is your thing, than one might as well forget the fence?

    The idea here is: To build a fence that will keep the bear out! Now, why on earth would one want to advertise and even attract the bears to come? To feed on bacon or peanut butter?
    By attracting the bear, to the fence, one is asking for trouble.
    It is a proven fact that when a curious bear, who has his mind on a bait and nothing else, gets shocked - that in itself is a huge surprise for him?!
    Cause he did not expect it?!
    Such bear might just charge ahead, from surprise that he was caught with his guard down!
    Not from pain -as most mistakenly think? Bears are very, very tough creatures and pain is to them almost unknown.
    When bears are wounded (caused pain) they do not retreat like a chicken - they go in an immediate rage/attack mode and they will blindly attack everything around them... They will mercilessly trash, uproot and bite tear nearby trees apart, or whatever else stands up around them!
    They will charge through the smooth wired fence, or plastic netting, like no-body's business!
    Cause they have thick and long fur and smooth wire does them no harm. (That is why the idea arose to shock them in the mouth)
    One needs barbed wire, which parts their thick fur and shocks them repeatedly in to retreat.
    Bears also know very well, that the fence is energized and will stay clear. They will even passionately wait, until it dies, or for the time when beek forgets to turn it on. That is the time that they will strike.
    Bears are very smart creatures, when left to their own devices. But fog up their mind with a few strips of bacon - they will throw all caution to the wind and will do their darndest to get to the food and consequently the food inside the enclosure.
    They will come to the bait from far and wide?
    Here, in Canada, they claim, that a bear will smell bacon grease, frying in a frying pan, for 15 miles?! Bears will congregate around and driven by hunger, curiosity and constant irritation by bacon bait and believe you me, bears are perhaps the smartest creatures in the woods, they will find the way to get to your hives just for simple reason that one has invited them. . .

    If bacon (bait) was not there, they would not have a clue that something good is hidden there. Only the usual passers-by will go by on their daily - whatever is that they do?
    (hundreds of bears from miles around will stay put in their own neck of the woods)
    Don't forget that bears are also fiercely territorial and only one is the boss around your yard, all the other are trespassers and on edge (scared) that they will get caught. So, they have no time to mess around with something what is not theirs.
    Another thing to do is: To Pee on at least 4 corners, or locations where you see trails, or seing that bear, or some other creature has been passing. Pee has to be from a man - woman's P is an attractant...

    I had a bear marking his territory mere 10 feet from my hives on an oak tree right in my driveway. When I noticed this - claw marks on the trunk, I immediately grabbed a garden rake and marked the trunk about two feet higher. That tels the bear that I am bigger than him! Around the bottom I had Peed and this bear has immediately changed his daily patern. He realized that a bigger "bear" has claimed that spot and not wanting to chance a fight - he moved over.
    Also important is your train of thought! When you walk around, have it in your mind that if damage is done, the bear will pay for his indiscretion. Animals poses an unique ability, ESP if you will, and will stay clear. . .

    Another thing to get is a Critter-Gitter, an electronic device which, when something moves, it will emit loud chirping noises and blink red eyes. . .
    It works. It scares two legged creatures too.

    I had hand raised two bears and they, and others, walk by my hives several times daily. I had to cut down some trees this year, cause they were too close to the house and our dog refused to get down from the deck, from fear of them. (bear was hiding in the trees and enjoyed the sweet smells from the kitchen)
    But the hives are still intact, touch wood. . . Even though the bear broke one corner post, this last summer... Which I will have to change next year.

    If the fance is well constructed, with barbed wire, no bear will get through.


    See some links, down bellow, to read words of wisdom from experts, cause I sense that mare words from an cantankerous old man have little meaning on this thread.



    http://www.kencove.com/fence/76_Bear+Fence_resource.php

    http://margosupplies.com/public/cana...tter_extra.htm

    http://www.beebehavior.com/bee_yard_protection.php
    Last edited by France; 12-28-2009 at 06:07 PM.

  18. #18
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    Thumbs Up Re: Lets talk bears again

    France-That is the best summary of bears and fences I have ever seen.
    Excellent references also.
    "Younz" have a great day, I will.

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