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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm going to give open barrel feeding a shot here in a few days (University of Guelph style). We have a ton of black bears and I am becoming concerned that they may tip my barrels over. If I put the barrels inside the bear fence they will be just 4 or 5' away from the colonies, is that to close? Any suggestions on the distance the barrels should be located from the colonies?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hi SeaCucumber, so you are saying the tote was within a foot or two from the colonies?
 

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I have open fed inside my enclosure BUT there was not a dearth and my bees are not italian; change those two factors and it might be a problem.
 

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Yes the bears will go after the feed barrels if they are hungry,

I don't think it's a good idea to have the open feed that close to hives. Since open feeding is basically a sense of robbing it may spread to the hives.

I personally keep our feed stations a good 100 yards from the colonies, and put up it's own fence if needed. if in a prone area fence first, and bait the electric fence with some bacon. You have to shock it in the sensitive areas of the nose/mouth. If the bear's first experience in an area relates to pain it will remember the pain first and ignore whats inside. Once a bear knows a good food source is there it will walk through practically any fence to get to the nutrients.


Aaron
 

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I thought robbing is caused by weak hives, large entrances, or opening hives. I've tested open feeding next to hives. It works with Italians. If you open feed my way, there's a danger time when you can't open hives. I don't know when it ends. I equalized 1 week after feeding ended.

Suppose you have hives with 100 kg of nectar sugar, and you feed 100 kg fast. How do feeding methods affect bear interest?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Hi seacucumber, I think the bears will smell the syrup or the colonies and be drawn in.
What is your method for feeding?
 

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I thought robbing is caused by weak hives, large entrances, or opening hives. I've tested open feeding next to hives. It works with Italians. If you open feed my way, there's a danger time when you can't open hives. I don't know when it ends. I equalized 1 week after feeding ended.

Suppose you have hives with 100 kg of nectar sugar, and you feed 100 kg fast. How do feeding methods affect bear interest?

Robbing will be done by any bee that senses an opportune stored feed location with little or no defense. Such as a bucket of sugar set out.

Any hive can be robbed if there are enough other hives out there looking for food, they just pick on the weakest of the bunch, If you have 12 strong hives and 1 average hives, and the 12 strong hives sense that the average hive is the easiest way to get food they will rob it.

But robbing can spread, if you open feed and the feed runs out or the bees internal GPS is off a little and they start going after the hive nearest.

I've seen one weak hive getting robbed, once it was cleaned out the bees kept coming back anyhow, and attempting to rob the next hive in the row.

Yes entrance size relative to the hive strength can normally deter this.

But open feeding right next to your actual hives may cause a feeding frenzy that may envelope the nearest hive as a target.
 

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Sugar syrup has very little smell to it compared to the background smell of the colony's brood or drying down of honey. I would not worry about the open syrup being especially an attractant but if there is a bear wandering around ( which I expect is always the case where I live) he will investigate and spill it just for sh_ts and giggles so I dont want to do anything to reward him.

What AstroZombee says is spot on. Problems are easier prevented than cured.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks you all...this conversation in enlightening me. I open fed 450 gallons of 2:1 syrup today to 6 yards. I went back to the first yard and they were goin' crazy on the syrup. I put a partial frame of honey by the barrels, to attract them quickly because the weather is really going to cool down in few days.
 
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