Beesource Beekeeping Forums banner

Bear Almost Got Em-Lesson Learned

3422 Views 20 Replies 16 Participants Last post by  Bear Creek Steve
Incredibly lucky this happened during this little mild spell, considering how this winters been. Found supers, and frames scattered in a 20 foot "debris field" this morning. And surveying the damage, I was basically crushed after they came this far through the winter. Then I found a pretty large cluster covering 2 frames smashed together, and a smaller cluster, on a piece of burlap I used to wrap the hives. Was actually a pretty healthy amount of bees clustered up, so it buoyed my spirits quite a bit to see they weathered this winter so far, AND their first (and hopefully last) bear incident. Always heard it was brood that attracted the bears, but she/they did a fine job, completely cleaning out 4 frames wax, honey and all. No signs of brood best I could see on any frames. Gave them 2 frames capped honey from a dead out, and put everything back together. Hopefully, they'll be fine with added honey and sugar blocks that were there to begin with, for the duration. More cold coming next 3-4 days. Hopefully I still have a queen, guess I will keep a little closer eye as the weather allows. Looks like everything and everyone looking for spring, last week it was a possum ""playing possum"" next to a pile of egg shells in the chicken coop, lol. Figuring a bear fence is now a smart investment to protect the 10 nucs, and hardware for them that's on its way. That spring to do/to buy list rapidly growing. Bear fence def going up, but does anyone know if the pallet/ratchet strap rig I've heard about is worthwhile in the interim?
1 - 20 of 21 Posts
Sounds like you got lucky hope they pull out and build up assuming that you still have a queen hopefully you do good luck
If they found a meal , they will be back !!!
yea I figured that- actually have the bucket from the tractor resting on top of the hive-short of gnawing a hole in the hive I should be alright for a week til I get time and money to get a correct bear fence erected
Don't wait , get a bear fence up !

A bear will often (as in usually) come back within a day or two for more.

If you can't get a fence up before tomorrow night, move them off the property to somewhere that bears are not an issue (like a friends yard in town).
The electric fence is a good way too go. Since the bear got a taste for your bees- he or she will be back. I would consider putting one hot wire on the outside of the fence exclosure and baiting it with bacon. When the bear chomps down on the bacon it will get a really good jolt.
Buy a bigger fencer than you think that you will need. I had a 25 mile fencer on a 20ft by 20ft enclosure last year. I have several bear on my property, so I was also very careful to not drop any comb, or do anything to teach them that those funny looking boxes tasted good! I have a bear tag this year, so there should be once less bear come fall, my next door neighbor also got a tag. Bear Chili anyone?
I agree a larger charger is the way to go.

Even on a small yard near the house with only 4-8 hives, I have a 3 joule fence energizer.

Bears need a bigger jolt than cattle -- they are better insulated
I hear you on getting the fence up as soon as possible- thankfully there is a wealth of bear fence info on this site, and because I would like to get to 50 or so hives in next few years, I am def going to make it much larger than needed for this season. "Hot" fence also a given. For the night they are strapped on a heavy bench with oak trunks, and the loader bucket on top- any further tampering-I'll try the chicken coop which is actually a barn stall. This is what happens when you have the "it won't happen to me mindset",lol.
Sit out there with a good bolt-rifle and rid your problem. Early morning or evening is best bet. Depredation kill...
that bear WILL be back
I can all but guarantee that the loader bucket will not help. That bear will rip the hive apart right out from under the bucket. pound for pound a bear is 5 times stronger than a man. and those claws are tool designed to tear apart stumps, logs and dig through rocky soil. Only two deterrents are electricity and death.
does anyone know if the pallet/ratchet strap rig I've heard about is worthwhile in the interim?
They do not help.
i have seen blackbears tear a door off a car to get a pack of cookies, no ratchet strap or hive box is going to stop one, get a fence or prepare to make some bear jerkey, ham, sausages and bacon.
All of you guys were right on the money. She came back last night, and really finished what she started the night before. Tore the supers rght out from under loader bucket, and ratchet straps. Destroyed supers, frames, etc. Again found what I think should be enough bees to maintain a cluster. put them in a good super with a few frames of honey. Be out tomorrow before work to get supplies for the fence, then start constructing it after work. I should have some time cause survivors are now in a locked barn. I would like to thank everyone for their advice and suggestions. One way or the other I will win this. I respect nature, but if the thought of a rifle even crossed my mind, the authorities would be at my door in this over-regulated state
Snow Winter Ice Tree Freezing
Ice Arctic Adventure Snow Recreation

Sorry to hear about your hives. I have the same concerns about the bears waking up soon and being very hungry after the long cold winter we have had. Still cold with 3 feet of snow around the hives hives here in New Hampshire. Today I dug out the electric fence and rewired it so the top wire is hot and the next lower wire is a ground. As the snow recedes, I will activate additional wires. Tough to get your bees through the winter and then loose them to a bear.
See less See more
A good outside dog will keep the bears away ie. blue healer....A friend of mine has 3 blue healers
and have kept the bears away from his 2 hobby hives, behind the grove a couple hundred
yards from the house...No electric fence at all ....

Thanks Cotton- springtime taking the long way around here in the NE-I see everything from bluebirds & robins, to ***** and possum, scratching around for a meal this year. In a way i'm glad it happened now. I have 10 nucs, and a substantial amount of hardware on order. So if it had to happen' this was an opportune time to learn the lesson. Fence should be up by Tues-Weds, weather dependent. Little more snow coming. McBee, hard to believe, but my 2 whippets (think smaller greyhound) have treed several bears, and do a fine job of keeping all critters in general off my property. I keep bees close, but on a piece of property where I work, not at my home. Will make the adjustment, and everything will be fine- part of keeping bees around here I guess.
When you build your fence, take a can of sadines and poke a hole through the middle of it. Put a piece of wire through it and hang it off of the fence wire. When the bear bites the can it will get a shock it will never forget. Works better than bacon and lasts longer.
I have seen a video of a bear that would back up to an electric fence and sit on it, then get up and walk across it to get into a bee yard.
Somewhere in the archives of BeeSource is a thread about using cattle panels laying on the ground connected to the ground side of the charger. When the bear is on the panel it will be standing on the ground side of the charger. I use Solar powered chargers, get a good one!
1 - 20 of 21 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.