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  1. #41
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Arlee MT USA
    Posts
    548

    Default Re: Anti-bear bee fortress; nearly completed.

    Now doesn't that give the bears a bridge to your hives?
    Only if the bears have already broken down my front door, entered my kitchen and then broken down a second door leading to the bee deck. And since I make my own doors out of solid wood planks it seems unlikely.


    I'm no bear expert but it looks to me like you still may have to run an electric fence around the top railings of your bee fort.
    That was part of the original plan but there are so many other physical barriers to them getting that far I decided that it wasn't worth it to use the one anti-bear method that I know doesn't work, (at least not for me.)

    On the other hand modern defensive doctrine emphasizes "defense in depth" where you use multiple layers of defensive systems, none of which is intended to be completely block the enemy but where each takes its toll until they can no longer advance.

    The bigger threat is my habit of carelessly leaning ladders up against the side of my defenses. It seems like in every picture I took yesterday you can see a ladder in the wrong spot.




    And then there is always plan B.


  2. #42
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Fort Worth, TX, USA
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    1,774

    Default Re: Anti-bear bee fortress; nearly completed.

    I'd put plan B in the kitchen, with a barrel sized hole in the window (covered with hinged plexiglass or something of course). Seems that when I see that squirrel or that weasel I am always at the kitchen sink, and with the cost of glass, and the noise sliding a window open makes, I never get the critter. Come to think of it, I think I have a window to modify!
    Time to be a gypsy again, 2014 will be my prep year, my bees want a better area with actual rainfall.

  3. #43
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Caledonia, NY, USA
    Posts
    6

    Default Re: Anti-bear bee fortress; nearly completed.

    I want your life.

  4. #44
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    San Francisco, CA
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    2,365

    Default Re: Anti-bear bee fortress; nearly completed.

    I knew you would like plan B Gypsi!
    President, San Francisco Beekeepers Association
    www.habitatforhoneybees.org

  5. #45
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Fort Worth, TX, USA
    Posts
    1,774

    Default Re: Anti-bear bee fortress; nearly completed.

    Good thing I didn't get my window modified. A hawk had one of my young hens cornered today, saw him from the back window. He (or she) looked confused but went ahead and took off when I was about 6 ft away yelling "get out of my yard". Don't think Prairie Hawks are protected species, but they eat rats. Best stick to rats...
    Time to be a gypsy again, 2014 will be my prep year, my bees want a better area with actual rainfall.

  6. #46
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Pittsburgh, PA, USA
    Posts
    131

    Default Re: Anti-bear bee fortress; nearly completed.

    Is part of the multi-layered defense strategy the radioactive storage? Or is that much like me just buying an alarm company sticker for my window? If so, I'm not sure bears know that symbol, maybe try the flammable symbol, what with Smokey and all.

    Also, from my Marine Corps experience, I would recommend triple-strand constantia wire, much more menacing of a look.

    I LOVE THIS FORT!!!

  7. #47
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Arlee MT USA
    Posts
    548

    Default Re: Anti-bear bee fortress; nearly completed.

    Or is that much like me just buying an alarm company sticker for my window?
    Exactly like that but its more for the neighbors than the bears Its a multihazard DOT placard that I found a long time ago and kept for decoration. You can change the flaps to say different things like 'Corrosive' or 'non flammable gas'

    Also, from my Marine Corps experience, I would recommend triple-strand constantia wire, much more menacing of a look.
    I may do that someday. The whole thing, house included is still very much a work in progress. Hopefully soon I will be able to post pics showing the outer wall that I plan to build along the edge of the deck connecting the bee fort to the kitchen addition.

    I'd put plan B in the kitchen, with a barrel sized hole in the window (covered with hinged plexiglass or something of course).
    I don't know if you can see it in the pictures but I have firing slits on the top floor of the tower underneath the eaves that give my 360*coverage around the tower. The top floor is the bedroom which is where I am most likely to be during the hours that bears like to get up to trouble.

    In all seriousness though I've only had one bear in twenty years that didn't run away when I yelled at it and that one was sent packing by a pistol shot into the ground between its legs, (it was twenty feet away standing up on two legs at the time)

    I really don't have any desire to hurt bears, I just don't want them killing my bees.

  8. #48
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Franklin County, PA
    Posts
    485

    Default Re: Anti-bear bee fortress; nearly completed.

    I really like seeing the progress Aerindel. It is inspiring to see what you are creating. Nicely done so far.

  9. #49
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Litchfield, CT, USA
    Posts
    430

    Default Re: Anti-bear bee fortress; nearly completed.

    All good stuff but how are the bees doing?

  10. #50
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Arlee MT USA
    Posts
    548

    Default Re: Anti-bear bee fortress; nearly completed.

    One hive is doing great, they almost have all their winter honey stored. Two hives are strong but need to put on another twenty or so pounds. One hive is queenless, last time I checked, and is only about four frames of bees in one medium. It will probably get combined with one of the others before winter. All four hives where started May fourth this year.

  11. #51
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Ojai, California
    Posts
    960

    Default Re: Anti-bear bee fortress; nearly completed.

    An overhead gantry and a rope and harness would be a possible safety setup. Better plan each visit - mistakes with the bees will get uncomfortable. Smooth metal poles (galvanized steel?) to a raised platform might keep bears off better than a building and concertina wire. Automatic bear spray might be an avenue...as might loud, recorded bear harrassment noise (rap "music", machine gun noise, or perhaps the theme from Jeopardy played on the bagpipes!)

  12. #52
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Arlee MT USA
    Posts
    548

    Default Re: Anti-bear bee fortress; nearly completed.

    My very first plan was a metal pole cache type structure like this one:



    (There is a pretty interesting article about bees vs bears that goes with this pic: http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/fe20030904cw.html)

    But the more I thought about it the more I decided if I was going to go through that much effort that this needed to be a multiuse structure. I also thought about hoisting the hives up into the trees but I didn't think they would like the way the trees sway in the wind and by the time you buy rope and pulleys capable of lifting hundred pound hives you may as well build a platform.

    Purely defensive structures are great fun to design but when you actually price them out you usually find they are so expensive that you pretty much have to make them serve more than one purpose to justify the expense. In the case of the bee fort its also a storage shed that I keep all my bee stuff in and if I ever decide not to have bees it will make a nice little deck.
    Last edited by Aerindel; 08-22-2012 at 01:03 AM.

  13. #53
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Utica, NY
    Posts
    9,471

    Default Re: Anti-bear bee fortress; nearly completed.

    It doesn't look as though you spared any expense no matter what you use it for.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  14. #54
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    San Francisco, CA
    Posts
    2,365

    Default Re: Anti-bear bee fortress; nearly completed.

    Now that's a spendy hive stand!
    President, San Francisco Beekeepers Association
    www.habitatforhoneybees.org

  15. #55
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Fort Worth, TX, USA
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    1,774

    Default Re: Anti-bear bee fortress; nearly completed.

    The rap music alarm sounds good - and yes, that metal one is a spendy bee stand. Unless one happens to already have the pipe and the sheet metal sitting around. Not sure my sheet metal is thick enough, but I've got 3 10 ft pipes... ant proof too!
    Time to be a gypsy again, 2014 will be my prep year, my bees want a better area with actual rainfall.

  16. #56
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Ojai, California
    Posts
    960

    Default Re: Anti-bear bee fortress; nearly completed.

    Aerindel - Thanks for the Japan Times link. The last comment at the bottom is classic - Grease the metal poles! How's a fuzzy bear to wriggle maggot-style up a polished pole with Astro Glide on it? And yes, an electric wire to zap him up near the top will really teach him a lesson if he gets that far.

    Both the metal platform and yours appear to be 10 to 12 feet high. I would consider higher, perhaps 20 feet, to more thoroughly discourage the bears. The cost objection could be taken up by a bee club...

  17. #57
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    Mar 2011
    Location
    Utica, NY
    Posts
    9,471

    Default Re: Anti-bear bee fortress; nearly completed.

    Somehow I think the sapper should be at the bottom. An electrode around the poles and a damp base to complete the circuit. Wet straw maybe.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  18. #58
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Arlee MT USA
    Posts
    548

    Default Re: Anti-bear bee fortress; nearly completed.

    How's a fuzzy bear to wriggle maggot-style up a polished pole with Astro Glide on it?
    Knowing bears, they would probably lick it off. I would have welded some short downward pointing spikes on the poles.

    I would consider higher, perhaps 20 feet, to more thoroughly discourage the bears.
    That would no doubt help but my thought is that if the bear can climb the first ten feet it can probably climb the second ten feet.

    I think the really important thing to have on an bear proof platform is a good overhang. Bears are great climbers but they can't stick spiderlike to the bottom of things. From watching them go up trees it seems like they rely on strength more than agility. Keep them from getting a 'bear hug' on your poles and I don't think they can climb.

    It doesn't look as though you spared any expense no matter what you use it for.
    Lol, you should have seen some of my earlier designs. This one had a fifty foot antenna mast built into it. (Though to be fair, the antenna mast is something I picked up for free from the old firehall)



    And then there was the geodesic steel dome idea inspired by this chicken run



    I actually really liked that idea but I have severe lack of flat ground on my property and I calculated that in order to build a dome high enough to cover an 8'x8' area 6' feet tall I would need a dome nineteen feet in diameter which would mean that I would have to level out and clear about four hundred square feet of forest floor. It was at this point that my girlfriend and financier told me "We're not going to build a bee dome larger than our freaking house."

  19. #59
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Utica, NY
    Posts
    9,471

    Default Re: Anti-bear bee fortress; nearly completed.

    Quote Originally Posted by Aerindel View Post
    "We're not going to build a bee dome larger than our freaking house."
    See how they are... they just can't get into the concept of things.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  20. #60
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Ojai, California
    Posts
    960

    Default Re: Anti-bear bee fortress; nearly completed.

    I'm just glad I'm not the bear! Its getting tough to steal a chicken or score some honey these days, eh, Yogi? Then again, that sniper rifle will likely have the deterring effect. I vote for a .416 Rigby, as the .477 Nitro Express I just accurized last month hasn't cooled down yet.

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