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Hello, I am new to bee keeping and have two hives. Just recently I had a bear push down the electric fence around both hives and destroyed them. I believe the grounding on my fence did not deliver the shock needed to deter the bear (Cubs?). In two separate locations, I found 3 frames of bees clustered tight together. The temperature was dipping into the 30s that night and with one box destroyed, I consolidated all the bees into one box. I did separate each group of frames found on opposite sides of the hive body, and one off setting the other. i would have checked for a queen, but it was getting cold and I was tired of getting swarmed and stung. Basically I have possibly two separate colonies in one hive with two...maybe no queen. my plan, now three days later on the warmest day of the week (50 degrees). Is to open the hive, separate the two colonies (if there is two), put them in smaller separate hive boxes, insulate and feed them all winter....and hope at least one makes it.
I could any advice. The fence is fixed.
 

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Wow, very sorry to hear that. I've had the opportunity to keep bees up in Lake Tahoe for years but have never wanted to deal with the bear issue. I hear they can be relentless!

Good new is that your bees were clustering together. Our hope would be that they were clustering around a queen. If you did combine two colonies with two queens, you would now only have one queen. There is always an exception to the rule so it's worth looking through frame by frame to make sure there is a queen, or two...or any. If there is no queen then obviously they have no hope and would be better combined into another colony you know is queen right.

You have the right idea. However, as you haven't added your location I'm not sure what kind of winter you're headed into. It may be better to just combine everything down, with one queen, to make sure you have something survive winter. This would give you a very strong colony to split out again in the spring to multiple colonies.

Update your location and we can come up with a plan.
 

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Thanks mtnmyke...I am 2 hours north of Tahoe...eastern sierra Nevada’s. I’m not sure how to update my profile location. I agree with your solution...just nervous to look inside.
 

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It's better to look so you have options than not look and have them die. Let us know what you find!

And small world. I have a place in Tahoe Vista that always goes without bees. Some neighbors keep hives on their roof to keep them away from the bears but I don't have a flat roof or area safe to keep them.
 

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I am not sure there is anything to be gained by opening them up. I'd leave them together until spring. I suspect you have only one queen by now, or maybe none, and therefore no reason to open.
 

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I saw an article about bear fencing and it recommended using two feet wide chicken wire laid on the ground around the outside perimeter of the bear fence as a ground. As the bear approaches the fence it is standing on the chicken wire and gets a good shock when it touches the wire. It said if you are in a dry area to moisten the ground in one place and hang a piece of bacon on the electric wire at that place.
One other thing is to have the electric wire strands not more than 10 inches apart since once a bear gets its head through the wire it is insulated by its coat and goes through the fence.
Good luck with your bees. As others have said make sure the bees have have pollen/pollen patties and honey/2:1 syrup available.
You may want to go ahead and reserve a package/nuc of bees for the spring just in case.
It hurts when you get set back so abruptly and all the work you did is gone.
 

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It's very possible that one queen will kill the other before you make up your mind about what to do. In which case, problem solved. You'll have 1 colony to overwinter. You could end up with a nice hive to split in the spring. Yes, I know you would rather have had both overwinter, but them's the breaks.
If you do have 2 queens you need to have plenty of bees to cluster over winter, or neither will survive if you split them.
so check on them when you get a chance, determine if there is one or 2 queens and act accordingly to overwinter what ya got. feed as necessary and cross your fingers.
 

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Another solution to bears and not dependant on ele. Take 1x12 drive nails through the boards.. place around hives nails up..the bear will get the message.
Sorry about the hives..my sympathies.
 

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I live in Pennsylvania have black bears all around my 3 bee yards. I keep a fence around all of them and soler fencers. Just one wire some I run two wires. But you have to teach bears what a fence is. One way that I use is put peanut butter on foil and wrap it around the wire. You want the bear to touch it with its nose or mouth. One's they do they don't come back.😁 But in your case u need to move them because ones they do get in a hive they will keep coming back.
 

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One way that I use is put peanut butter on foil and wrap it around the wire.
How long does that last?

In my case the current local bear is attracted to bird seed so I have a bunch of foil packs filled with sunflower seed. Want to avoid meat or anything that might lure bears from miles away.
 

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Once they touch the fence they will not come back. I would say till they give up looking for the hives. I hear bears can tell where a hive is 10 miles away. But the peanut butter thing works .
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thanks for all the great advice. I placed wire box fencing around the hive on the ground, grounded it and added bacon to the hot wires. The bear has not been back..not yet at least! I did get into the hive and discovered two groups of bees around 3 to 4 frames each. One group on the lower left of the hive body and the second on the upper right of the second box. They are in the same position I left them a week ago after the bear tore up everything. I tried to further investigate and find the queen, and why they were in two separate locations, but it was very cold out and they hung onto each other when I tried to separate frames. I decided not to investigate any further. I separated the top and bottom hive boxes into two separate hives. I put frames around them that had either brood or honey, added a second box with paper bags of straw for insulation and covered the hives. I also put fondant in each hive for food I know they do not have. I am hoping each cluster has a queen, but I know the chances of that are very slim. My plan is to wait a month when I decide to burn the brush piles around the hive, open them back up to add more feed and assess things again. I thought about brushing the smaller cluster of bees into one hive body, but something was telling me to just let things go and allow them to figure it out. I felt like I was messing with them too much just opening the hive and making their living quarters smaller. I do believe nature should be allowed to take its course and lessons are often learned the hard way.
 

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You have done what you could so far. Hopefully you can train some bears this winter and build up your hives .
If a hive does not make it you could obtain a strong nuc this spring, they may grow enough to let you harvest some honey in the fall.
 

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The mated queens will not fight each other. Virgins fight, not mated queens. Could be that this time of year the bees may let both of them live. They obviously are not going to be too active and the bees could over time adjust to both of their pheromones. I wouldn't worry about checking them. The bees will decide the best course -- just hope they have what they need to make it. You can feed them -- that's about all.
 
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