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Thread: bear problems

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Steamboat Springs, CO
    Posts
    7

    Default bear problems

    Third year keeper. 1st year so so, last year great 4 hives. This year 3 died and one very strong hive over the summer. Have had electric bear fence for 3 years and no problems. Last week it went down and before I got it repaired bear got into hive for first time ever. Able to salvage some ( had been 3 deeps and 2 supers) able to salvage the deeps. Did not check for queen as I figured they were already traumatized enough. Attempted repair but it obviously went down again 2 nights later. Bear succeeded in trashing hive again. Repaired fence (I thought) but bear into it again last night. My questions. I now have two deeps that have a lot of bees still. They are pissed and I have several stings to prove it. Should I try to move the hive and fence to a new area (have a 10 acre plot). Should I try to keep the hive alive and what should I do (allow them to try to raise a new queen now _getting late in year here (7000 feet and will freeze in another week or two. Also when I tried to put the hive back together I got lots of bees all over me and even walking off 200-300 yards they remained on my suit. How do I get rid of them or just keep walking.
    At this point I'm into "wait until next year" and over being terribly bummed out. Any suggestions appreciated.

    Mountainguy
    steamboat springs, colorado

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Location
    Black Forest, Colorado, USA
    Posts
    53

    Default Re: bear problems

    Recovering the hive is kind of a moot discussion until you get a working fence that is reliable. The bear knows the hive is there and will continue to come back over and over until there is either nothing left or the fence is sufficient to send him away. Is it a strong enough fence? Some of the fences out there, like a half joule and similar, just don't pack the punch to impress a bear. Remember, they get stung too, and don't care. Your fence needs to be able to kick their rear end enough to be convincing. Our fence has a "35 mile" charger on it. It measures out at around 9,500 volts on the wire. Get the fence fixed and then worry about the bees.

    Apiary.jpg

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Barrie, Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    638

    Default Re: bear problems

    Tell us more about the fence. Is it baited? Does it have a good charger? How many strands? Is the tension good? Alternating hot and ground wires? Is there a good ground? Do you have a tester to verify the voltage?

    At this point you may to both improve the fence and move the yard. It's hard to keep them out once they have been in.
    Adam - Zone 5A
    www.adamshoney.com

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Location
    Franklin county Massachusetts
    Posts
    2

    Default Re: bear problems

    One thing I learned about large animals and electric fences:
    when a large animal gets the shock on the shoulders or beyond, its instincts are to lunge forward.
    therefore your strands of wire need to be close enough together so you will get them in the face or head.
    if jolted in the head area they will "back up" away from the fence.
    as far as your bee survival, hopefully you have enough survivors and food left to get them through the winter.
    best of luck! going bear hunting next week, Bee thinking of you!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Larimer County, CO, USA
    Posts
    178

    Default Re: bear problems

    As mentioned in the earlier thread the fence need enough joules to deter a bear. There are very few fence chargers that do that. You need to check the joules the fence is putting out with a fence tester. One of the most common problems is the ground wire. Now that the bear has gotten food he/ she will be back for sure. Take a look at CO Park and Wildlife Bear Exclosure for Apiaries for a solid design. If you can move the hives out of the area for a awhile so much the better. Even if you move your bees I would bait the bear to the exclosure forcing a good shock with some empty hive bodies or even cardboard boxes that look like hives with some honey(very little- like a tablespoon). I would consider contacting your local state District Wildlife Manager and request a permit to kill this bear as he or she will continue to be a problem for you.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Larimer County, CO
    Posts
    501

    Default Re: bear problems

    Do I see you in Copoco's in Fort Collins occasionally? I've bumped into a USFS employee from Steamboat in there a couple of times this summer. Just curious if it might be you or if it's someone else.
    I'm the dude, so that's what you call me.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Norfolk, Nebraska, USA
    Posts
    123

    Default Re: bear problems

    Shoot the bear

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Larimer County, CO, USA
    Posts
    178

    Default Re: bear problems

    I agree with Wild-B. Once a bear gets through the fence its very hard to deter them from getting through the fence again.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Fort Gay, WV, USA
    Posts
    1,065

    Default Re: bear problems

    When it comes to beekeeping, the only good bear, is a dead one..
    Thomas Bartram - Since 2013, 43 - 8 F langs, 22 Italian & 21 Russian

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    West Kill, NY
    Posts
    1

    Default Re: bear problems

    Really sorry to hear about your hives. I'm also having bear problems in the Catskills in NY. We are in the state forest, and everybody is talking about how many bears have been around this summer. No apples on any of the trees this year, so the bears are hungry and looking for winter food. I have a 7 string fence with a 12volt 35 mile solar charger. The second to top and second to bottom strings are grounded, plus, I put 3 foot wide chicken wire on the ground around the outside of the fence which is also grounded.

    Before we put the chicken wire down, a bear did get through the front of the fence, but I have the hives strapped with ratchet straps to the boards and cinder blocks the hives are sitting on. Scratches all over the top and sides of the hives, but the bear didn't get into the hives, and was probably getting shocked and stung enough that he/she gave up. We put up a game camera a week ago and got a picture of the top of a bear cub's head, then the next shot the bear is gone but the bees are bearding around the front of the hive. The bees have become much more defensive since the first attack, to the point that sometimes one or two will attack us as we are working in the garden in front of the hive.

    This is my first year keeping bees, and since we aren't near enough where we keep them to check them every day, I'm finding it pretty stressful worrying about them. Bears are amazing and beautiful creatures, but I have to say I'm looking forward to hunting season starting next week so they will hopefully move further up into the mountains to avoid the hunters.

    Next year I might extend the fence further so the hives are more than 4 ft from the fence. They seem to have a pretty long reach!

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Camas, WA
    Posts
    1,960

    Default Re: bear problems

    My bear fence is in two parts. The inner fence is just cheap welded wire 5' fencing. Then 6"-12" outside that I have another line of tee posts with the electric wires. So while the bear can easily get through the welded wire fence or the electric fence (by just charging forward), the two fences together make him/her face the electric fence for a longer time. I use a solar fencer (I don't remember the brand right now) that pegs all of my testers. We have good ground moisture around here all year so I have one 6' ground rod and then all hot wires for the electric part of the fence.

    We have a lot of bears. So far no bear has been through the fence. I find bent wires (could be from deer though - apple trees inside the fence) from time to time so I know something has tangled with it.
    Bruce

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Steamboat Springs, CO
    Posts
    7

    Default Re: bear problems

    Thanks for all the suggestions. I have the standard electric fence from the colorado dept of wildlife. Barbed ground wire on top, 3 foot mesh fence below. 35 mile charger (120 feet of fence). Talked to wildlife tech today and he said probably the controller is broken. Can not get another one for several days. I've pretty much decided to move the yard to a more accessible spot anyway. Question is what to do with the hive I still have, any way to protect it, save it, give it to someone, sit beside it with a rife, or should I just accept that it is lost. I would shoot the bear but I figure I'm in his territory and it is my problem not his.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    CapeCod MA
    Posts
    94

    Default Re: bear problems

    Take a look at my post yesterday titled "keeps hanging around" that bear and a host of other have backed away from that yard all summer. Keeping my fingers crossed, good luck.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Norfolk, Nebraska, USA
    Posts
    123

    Default Re: bear problems

    Quote Originally Posted by mountainguy View Post
    I would shoot the bear but I figure I'm in his territory and it is my problem not his.
    When it's in your hive it's in your territory and now it's a big problem for you. Shoot the bear, hang out and give him a warning shot or shoot it in the ***** with some 12 gauge three inch 2 shot if you want who knows maybe it will scare it off. I doubt it but it's worth a try, but eventually it will bring friends and family and they'll all get a taste of honey and there ya go.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Larimer County, CO, USA
    Posts
    178

    Default Re: bear problems

    How did the bear defeat the fence? Was it just a bad fence charger?

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Cumberland Va.
    Posts
    1,246

    Default Re: bear problems

    Quote Originally Posted by wild-b View Post
    Shoot the bear
    X2.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Cumberland Va.
    Posts
    1,246

    Default Re: bear problems

    What you currently have is a very tasty bait barrel. People usually shoot bears over bait barrels. They cant resist it, they come back for more. I wish you luck but if you dont get that fence popping, its not going to be a good outcome Im afraid. Good Luck. G

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