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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Portland, Oregon
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    968

    Default Odd Bear Behavior?

    I've a question for those who have experience with black bears in the bee yard.

    Yesterday I did an inspection on a new yard and found my first loss to bear.

    A nuc was toppled, and the bear tore up some comb, and apparently only sampled 2 frames.
    Then nuc was broodless as a virgin was recently emerged and this has been her mating week.

    There are four other colonies in that yard, none of which were touched...though the bear apparently lounged in the grass eight feet behind the hive stand.

    Is it unusual (as I think it is) for a bear to only bother one (small) hive in yard of several?

    (The others are securely ratchet strapped until I can get an electric fence up.)

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    fountain city, wisconsin, USA
    Posts
    35

    Default Re: Odd Bear Behavior?

    the bear ate till it was satisfied, knows where a food source is and will someday revisit, I would like to see a ratchet strap that would keep out a determined bear. Put some peanut butter on some foil folded over the electrc fence, the foil folded on itself protects the peanut butter from washing away and the bear will sniff or lick it and get his deterent and hopefully learn his lesson.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Washington County, Maine
    Posts
    2,960

    Default Re: Odd Bear Behavior?

    I agree with Pelz regarding the bear eating until satisfied, and a future revisit likely. I disagree on baiting the fence. It is a common practice I know, and many swear by its effectiveness. I view it as unethical.
    Master Beekeeper (EAS) and Master Gardener (U Maine CE) www.beeberrywoods.com

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Flora,IL
    Posts
    2,644

    Default Re: Odd Bear Behavior?

    unethical to trick a bear into a shock?? how ethical was it for him to smash your hive????

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Solano, California, USA
    Posts
    1,440

    Default Re: Odd Bear Behavior?

    Quote Originally Posted by Beregondo View Post
    I've a question for those who have experience with black bears in the bee yard.

    Is it unusual (as I think it is) for a bear to only bother one (small) hive in yard of several?
    ================================================== ===============


    When you think of bear behavior there is only one thing to keep in mind.

    As long as it can walk and eat it will only follow one principle.

    To quote one of California's famous and not so illustrative past governor on a bears propensity to return for what is not his.

    "I'll be back."

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Cumberland Va.
    Posts
    1,213

    Default Re: Odd Bear Behavior?

    Im with you on that one Charlie I am currently setting up a fence to where I am moving a hive. I only have 2 so I sure hope the bears leave mine alone.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 1999
    Location
    DuPage County, Illinois USA
    Posts
    9,592

    Default Re: Odd Bear Behavior?

    Quote Originally Posted by gmcharlie View Post
    unethical to trick a bear into a shock?? how ethical was it for him to smash your hive????
    Now your ascribing anthropomorphism to the bear. Bears operate on instinct and eating is how they survive. Ethics has nothing to do with the actions of a bear.
    Regards, Barry

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    fountain city, wisconsin, USA
    Posts
    35

    Default Re: Odd Bear Behavior?

    a shock on the nose is the best scenario, if you want to take chance on getting through fur, suit yourself, saw my lab walk through my fence with no shocks, good luck. We fenced entire fields with a single electric ribbon to prevent loss to deer, they could have crawled under or jumed with ease, but it was effective because we exploited their nature to sniff it first, it had peanut butter and cooking oil mix on it.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    28,018

    Default Re: Odd Bear Behavior?

    I had a bear visit one of my yards one time in SC. She knocked over a cpl two story hives and a cpl of nucs. She took frames from one nuc out into the woods, eating what was in the frames as she went. I moved the yard the evening of the day I found what had happened.
    Mark Berninghausen
    Squeak Creek Apiaries



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
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    Default Re: Odd Bear Behavior?

    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew Dewey View Post
    I view it as unethical.
    Would it be unethical to shoot the bear?
    Mark Berninghausen
    Squeak Creek Apiaries



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
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    Default Re: Odd Bear Behavior?

    Quote Originally Posted by biggraham610 View Post
    Im with you on that one Charlie I am currently setting up a fence to where I am moving a hive. I only have 2 so I sure hope the bears leave mine alone.
    Be sure the bear can't reach the hive from outside the fence. You will find the hive pulled over onto the fence.
    Mark Berninghausen
    Squeak Creek Apiaries



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
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    Washington County, Maine
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    2,960

    Default Re: Odd Bear Behavior?

    Quote Originally Posted by gmcharlie View Post
    unethical to trick a bear into a shock?? how ethical was it for him to smash your hive????
    Are you serious? We are placing bees right in the middle of their habitat!
    Master Beekeeper (EAS) and Master Gardener (U Maine CE) www.beeberrywoods.com

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Fort Walton Beach, Florida
    Posts
    1,256

    Default Re: Odd Bear Behavior?

    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew Dewey View Post
    Are you serious? We are placing bees right in the middle of their habitat!
    Well, okay, but isn't it sometimes our habitat more than it is the bear's? For example, our place in the North Country was farmed for over 150 years. Bears who visited that farm were undoubtedly made into bearskin rugs. Who does that habitat belong to now?

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Dec 1999
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    DuPage County, Illinois USA
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    9,592

    Default Re: Odd Bear Behavior?

    Quote Originally Posted by sqkcrk View Post
    Would it be unethical to shoot the bear?
    I'm sure there are situations where it would be. I'm always amazed that some will elevate their bees worth over that of another animal, simply because they want to keep bees. There needs to be a respect for both and efforts made to allow both to exist.
    Regards, Barry

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
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    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
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    Default Re: Odd Bear Behavior?

    If there were as many bears in Chicago as there in the Elmira,NY area eating your hives you might sing another song.
    Mark Berninghausen
    Squeak Creek Apiaries



  16. #16
    Join Date
    Dec 1999
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    DuPage County, Illinois USA
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    9,592

    Default Re: Odd Bear Behavior?

    No, I'd just be as frustrated as those in Elmira. I know we've had this discussion before, where it was certain birds eating bees. Regardless of what "your" bee pest is, we all have them and should work towards a solution that preserves both. One persons "pest" is another persons "pet."
    Regards, Barry

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
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    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
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    Default Re: Odd Bear Behavior?

    I can afford to agree w/ u. Bears aren't much of a problem where I keep bees.
    Mark Berninghausen
    Squeak Creek Apiaries



  18. #18
    Join Date
    Dec 1999
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    DuPage County, Illinois USA
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    Default Re: Odd Bear Behavior?

    I like what I saw when your bees were in the blueberries in Maine. That looked like a sensible approach.
    Regards, Barry

  19. #19
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    Aug 2005
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    Washington County, Maine
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    Default Re: Odd Bear Behavior?

    Quote Originally Posted by rhaldridge View Post
    Well, okay, but isn't it sometimes our habitat more than it is the bear's? For example, our place in the North Country was farmed for over 150 years. Bears who visited that farm were undoubtedly made into bearskin rugs. Who does that habitat belong to now?
    Farming and bears go together.

    I am not opposed to bears becoming bear skin rugs in instances where there is repeat bad (from a resident human perspective) bear behavior - as an example, repeat entry into a properly constructed and decently maintained smoke house.

    I arrived at my position after a long talk with a wildlife biologist bear specialist - are all wildlife biologists going to agree on this? I doubt it.

    And I have lost bees to bear before. I can't say I liked it.

    This is why on this forum I talk a bunch about electric fence voltage - and properly constructed electric fences. You can have the best rated (joules) equipment in the world and if it is not setup properly the fence isn't going to be effective at keeping bears out.

    I've thought about cages similar to the one Mark posted in a picture last year. At least one of the blueberry companies is using them more frequently during pollination season.

    Might I think differently if my last dollar were invested in my bees? Perhaps. But that is not the case so I can afford my position. I know of some hobbyist beekeepers who are using chain-link dog fences around their bees.

    From my perspective (and I am very much a hobbyist who hopes one day to make Grant's "Ton of Honey") there needs to be adequate forage available for bears locally outside of my bee yards. As an example, there are a bunch of wild blackberries here - most get left for the bears. I could go nuts harvesting wild foods like blackberries but then would have no one to blame but myself if Yogi decides to dine on my bees.

    Am I a hopeless romantic, too crunchy for words? I hope not. I am doing my best to coexist with the bears, keeping them out of my bees and garden with properly constructed (and regularly tested) electric fences. I'd just as soon the bears not be investigating my yards by issuing them an attractive invitation.
    Last edited by Andrew Dewey; 07-07-2013 at 11:56 AM. Reason: corrected spelling of a name
    Master Beekeeper (EAS) and Master Gardener (U Maine CE) www.beeberrywoods.com

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Fort Walton Beach, Florida
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    1,256

    Default Re: Odd Bear Behavior?

    I hate to say it, but I think Yogi would be more interested in your bees than your blackberries. All those carbs and the protein-rich larvae.

    I'm just a few miles from Mark's place in NY, so I hope I won't have bear problems. He's a little closer to the Park than I am, and if he doesn't worry much about bears, maybe I'll be okay.

    I think there is an argument of a non-ethical nature about peanut butter and other attractants. The scent of the attractants might draw bears as much as the scent of bees. And apparently bears are pretty clever about getting through fences, even electrified ones.

    I'm a lot more concerned about deer in the garden. Some of my gardening neighbors in NY have those 8 foot fences around their gardens.

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