Bear in the outyard
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    Central Virginia
    Posts
    202

    Default Bear in the outyard

    I had my first bear attack last week. Thankfully it was in an outyard that only had one colony in it so far. It was on a nearby farm and the farm owners were very happy to have it there, they also sold some of my honey at their farmstand and the local farmers market. That is a huge benefit to me because I don't want to do retail honey sales.

    Is there any way that I can hope to put bees back at that location without killing the bear or installing a kick-ass electric fence? I'm thinking no.

    There is no electricity at the site, so the fence is a no-go. I've messed with battery and solar fence chargers enough to know that they are not reliable.

    My only good idea for keeping bees at the farm is moving the apiary into one of the fenced areas that their dog treats as home turf. Black bears are supposed to be easily scared away by even little dogs as long as they bark a lot.

    Of course, if I move the hives close enough to their house I can put in an electric fence. Maybe they would be willing to do it for me, I don't know. I'm bummed because it was a good location. Four miles away and half way to Lowe's - very convenient.

    bear damage.jpg
    Keith- Since 2013 - treatment agnostic - 3 hives - Zone 7a - Central Virginia

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Pepperell, MA.
    Posts
    6,095

    Default Re: Bear in the outyard

    I'd probably opt for moving them closer and going electric. I've had enough times where a non-fence and non-kill situation isn't reliable. I've tried straps and pallets and scent, etc., but when the bears decide they want something it takes a lot to convince them otherwise.
    "My wife always wanted girls. Just not thousands and thousands of them......"

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Shickshinny, Pennsylvania
    Posts
    1,577

    Default Re: Bear in the outyard

    I just had a bear around the place too if its the same one about 2 miles away killed a calf and got into his bees , this one didn't bother my hives I have a solar parmack 12 protecting it BUT never thought he would be bold enough to actually enter my lean -to and get my stored supers luckily he only ended up get one box of drawn comb so they are all inside now he also was right up on my front porch and took out the gas grille this one is estimated at 300 pounds . Once they find a meal its definite that they will be back and you never know when .

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Washington County, Maine
    Posts
    3,796

    Default Re: Bear in the outyard

    It is hard to hear you disparage solar chargers without your being specific as to makes and models. The more expensive ones - like the Parmak Magnum 12SP - work well. They are pricey - perhaps too for one hive. They are also 12 volt. I don't spend any time with the 6 volt ones.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Location
    Rib Lake WI
    Posts
    1,705

    Default Re: Bear in the outyard

    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew Dewey View Post
    It is hard to hear you disparage solar chargers without your being specific as to makes and models. The more expensive ones - like the Parmak Magnum 12SP - work well. They are pricey - perhaps too for one hive. They are also 12 volt. I don't spend any time with the 6 volt ones.
    I was at fleet farm yesterday looking at the solar fencers big price range looks like I'll be spending the big bucks.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Punxsutawney, Pa
    Posts
    87

    Default Re: Bear in the outyard

    For a few hives, an elevated platform with 3 foot overhang. Then again cost comes into play but no tending batteries.

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    10,840

    Default Re: Bear in the outyard

    In addition to the "all in one" solar fence charger like Andrew mentioned (Parmak Magnum 12SP ), an alternative is a 12 volt fencer that runs from a standalone 12 volt battery (purchased locally, an automotive or deep cycle battery are reasonable choices), and then charge that battery from a standalone solar panel. A modular approach like this should make it easier to diagnose and swap out modules when there is a problem. No matter what system you choose, anything with a battery will need periodic replacement of the battery. If the battery is not easy to swap, that means a new entire unit.

    The car/deep cycle battery provides significantly greater capacity for extended poor solar weather periods than an integrated solar unit, and that extended capacity also means that the fencer can run for long time without even recharging at all. In some cases the owner can skip the solar charger entirely and just swap out the battery on periodic visits.

    Kencove has a reprint of a Bee Culture article on bear fencing here:
    http://www.kencove.com/fence/135_Bea...e_resource.php

    I buried 500 ft of UF wire to get AC power to my bee yard, so I could avoid solar issues. The dollar cost was about the same as a top quality solar charger, but of course that doesn't count the effort of digging 500 ft of trench. The AC wire parallels my driveway, so I installed some additional outlets along the way so I could use that AC for other uses as well.
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  9. #8
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    Central Virginia
    Posts
    202

    Default Re: Bear in the outyard

    Quote Originally Posted by Rader Sidetrack View Post

    I buried 500 ft of UF wire to get AC power to my bee yard, so I could avoid solar issues. The dollar cost was about the same as a top quality solar charger, but of course that doesn't count the effort of digging 500 ft of trench. The AC wire parallels my driveway, so I installed some additional outlets along the way so I could use that AC for other uses as well.
    That is a very good idea, Rader. If it was at my house I would run power to it one way or another. Installing outlets on poles in between would come in handy eventually.

    I burned up three 12v fence chargers for the fence around my chicken yard. The solar panel, charger, and deep cycle battery were all trouble free - it was the charger that was unreliable. The first one got water in it and shorted out. The second one got hit by lightning. The third one was shorted out by ants. Yes, ants. They couldn't reach across the high voltage board on their own, so they made a little ant bridge and linked leg to leg. The current fused them together. True story.
    Keith- Since 2013 - treatment agnostic - 3 hives - Zone 7a - Central Virginia

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Lumpkin County, GA
    Posts
    852

    Default Re: Bear in the outyard

    I have a couple outyards that suffered bear attacks and the owners prefer not having a fence. I have my hives on benches that have posts sunk 2 feet into the ground. I strap my hives to the bench with 3 ratchet straps. A bear tried to knock them over but couldn't get past the straps. It was able to shift the boxes about an inch and the bench was loose in the ground but that was all that happened. If you don't want the expense of a charger, battery, posts, etc, get some good straps and a bench to strap them to.
    The only negative is that you have to undo 3 straps to do an inspection.

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Santa Fe, NM
    Posts
    1,222

    Default Re: Bear in the outyard

    eric

    That's not really the only negative. A mature black bear will easily destroy everything in your yard regardless of your tie down straps. Sooner or later that will happen and you'll then have an entirely new story to post for us to read about. I've been dealing with bears and their destruction for many years and know all too well what they can do. Good luck.
    "Tradition becomes our security, and when the mind is secure it is in decay".....Krishnamurti

  12. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Grande Prairie, Alberta, Canada
    Posts
    56

    Default Re: Bear in the outyard

    40 years of beekeeping in a bear infested area...40 locations with electric fences...I always budgeted in my cash flow forecasts $10K to $20K of bear damage to equipment and loss of honey production. Now I'm retired but can't keep out of a beehive...but I value my sleep at night so this works for me:

    WGI_0043.jpg

  13. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Lumpkin County, GA
    Posts
    852

    Default Re: Bear in the outyard

    Quote Originally Posted by Riskybizz View Post
    eric

    That's not really the only negative. A mature black bear will easily destroy everything in your yard regardless of your tie down straps. Sooner or later that will happen and you'll then have an entirely new story to post for us to read about. I've been dealing with bears and their destruction for many years and know all too well what they can do. Good luck.
    Well, I am going to have to start setting up fences. A bear got me yesterday and my thought of 3 ratchet straps protecting the hives failed. The straps and the bench put up a good fight but my bottom board broke while the bear was shaking it and that gave the straps enough slack for the bear to pull the boxes apart. Surprisingly, only 4 frames were destroyed. The rest were untouched on the ground. The bees were probably so pissed by the time bottom board broke that the bear was getting the snot stung out of it. When I put the hive together, I had to leave to get a second pair of pants so as to not get stung. I took about 20 stings on my ankles trying to put the hive together.

    So today, I am going have to have to build an electric fence for three outyards. The wife isn't happy about the cash outlay but it seem that an electric fence is the only way to go.
    IMG_20180715_175004674.jpgIMG_20180715_175015403.jpg

  14. #13
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Santa Fe, NM
    Posts
    1,222

    Default Re: Bear in the outyard

    Eric

    Just saw your last post. Black bears are incredibly smart and capable of a lot of damage. I won't go into detail regarding some of my experiences. Put up good fences using a minimum of 5 strands with the lower strands at 6". I us the Parmax-12 chargers. I installed one in a new yard this spring and the battery out of the box pegged my test meter at 9900 volts. You definitely need that kinda juice for bears. My helper George grabbed the wire a few minutes after we turned it on just to make sure it was hot. His only comment was that he would never intentionally do that again.
    "Tradition becomes our security, and when the mind is secure it is in decay".....Krishnamurti

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