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Good afternoon, I'm writing in hopes someone can provide an example or suggestion of a bear proof electric fence, hopefully a kit. I kept bees for 3 years in GA and moved to Colorado Springs last year. I didn't get bees last year due to the bears but have my deposit in for two nucs to pick up this spring. I need to go ahead and start planning the electric fence. I have absolutely no idea what to get and thought this would be the place to go for advice.

I don't see myself expanding beyond 4 hives total in this space, it'll be two this year.

Does anyone have any suggestions? If I've posted this in the wrong forum, my apologies.
 

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Here are two videos that do an excellent job of describing an effective electric fence around a bee yard-
University of Guelph-
Bob Binnie-
I'm not aware of any kits that have all the components. I suspect a kit would cost more than the components anyway. A local farm store like a Tractor Supply would have all the materials needed. The energy an electric fence charger produces is measured in joules. For deterring bears, your energizer will require a minimum joule rating of: 0.7-1.0 stored joules or 0.5-0.7 output joules
If you have an electrical outlet available near your apiary, a 110 volt fence charger will simplify your task.
If you don't, you will need a 12 volt fence charger. They will run for some time on a deep cycle battery, but you can add a solar panel and charge controller to keep the battery continually charged for about $100.
I am using two of the Parmak 12UO fence chargers that Bob Binnie shows in his video. Normally best price is found at www.jefferspet.com. That fence charger will produce a blue spark across a 1/2" gap. If you forget and touch the fence, you will only do it once!
 

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Some of the feed store offerings are not very dependable and not as effective on bears as they should be. Bears have long fur which is good insulation. Just now read deepwoods recommendation. That is the fencer and solar panel setup I was about to describe. That model is dependable. Some of the cheapies have rather poor insulation and after a few months outside pick up moisture and short out Dont buy one with integral solar panel. Use an automotive battery not a lawn tractor size. Get at least 25 watt solar panel. with that size and size of battery they will last through a long period without sun. Even so this fall I noticed my battery was losing ground during an extended rainy period. Google or search here on baiting the wires so the bears first introduction will be with his nose or tongue: much longer lasting impression than if they get it with their chest..
 

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Here is a link to a fence equipment supplier page that has Bee Culture reprint on protecting an apiary from bears:

 

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2nd year Beeks expanding on a combination of wooden ware and Apimaye
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Colorado Parks and Wildlife has a benefit available for bear fencing to beekeepers.

 

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I have bears at my home yard about every week. They have a path worn around the fence.
The fence is made with the chain link fence, t post, PVC pipe and Tee's and top steel bares for the chain link fence. It is suspended off the ground about 6 ta 8". The fencer is rated for 25 miles of horse fencing. I have a total of 60'.
I have backed in to it when working hives and it lets you know it working. When you first install your fence you need to teach the bear or ***** it's there. Take some aluminum foil and wrap it around the fence and smear peanut butter or bacon grease on the foil then make sure the fence is on. They will smell it and or lick it and get a shock on there tender area and will steer clear of the fence. If you forget to turn it on sometime they will know.
I will post some pictures when they down load from my phone.
Tree Wood Fence Gas Wire fencing
Plant community Plant Tree Natural landscape Land lot

Since it gets dry here starting in August I also have chain link fence laying on the ground connected to the T post to insure grounding.
 

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Bacon grease on the wire is of help. The smell leads to taste and the shock to the mouth hits at least 9 of the 12 cranial nerves. I term this a “Jesus sighting”. By this I mean you won’t die but will repent for your ways and in kind preach to others to stay away.
 

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Good afternoon, I'm writing in hopes someone can provide an example or suggestion of a bear proof electric fence, hopefully a kit.
Depends a bit on how much you want to build, and how much you want as a 'kit' ready built. We use an electric net because it's easy to set up, and take down. the spot where we put bees for the summer fireweed flow has a 'leave no trace' policy, so we cannot leave the fence behind when we take the bees home. With the electric net, when it's time to bring the bees home I can just roll it up and toss onto the truck before we load bees.

This area haa bone dry ground at that time of the year so we use the pos/neg variety which alternates hot and ground wires. The net fence we use is the 100' from Premier 1 called the 'Bear QuikFence'. I like this one because it has stronger posts than most electric nets, we can drive them with a mallet. Even if yogi doesn't have good moist ground under him, when he touches two wires it goes zap. It's the ideal size for setting up a 25'x25' enclosure, or as in this picture its set up to be 12.5' wide and 37.5' long. If one goes down this road, it's very helpful to order extra posts when one orders the fence, gives a lot more flexibility in setting up where your corners are.

Plant Tire Wheel Tree Wood


I know a lot of folks dont like the charger that has solar included, but I like the model we are using. It's the Margo Solar 12 from Margo supplies in Alberta. It's not the cheapest model, likely close to the most expensive, but it's the model recommended for researchers on the ice, fencing a camp against polar bears. It has a good size solar panel which has never let us down.

This setup has done us well, never had a bear incursion into the bees while they are placed out there. I've seen bears driving to and from that location at least a dozen times, and more than once we've found bear scat along the fence line.

Our setup is far from ideal for a permanent installation, but for a portable setup that is easy to set up and tear down, it's great. For a more permanent setup I'd go with steel posts and string wires, and include a proper gate. We dont set a proper gate in when we put this one out, just use the corner where the two ends come together as our gate by lifting one of the posts and lay that section aside.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
This is all great advice. Thank you very very much for the replies! Looking forward to keeping bees on the front range this year. There are some temperature swings out here that I'm not sure how they survive but I'm willing to give it shot.

Thanks again all, greatly appreciated!
 

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If you are a hobbyist and are only going to have a few hives why not keep your bees in something that isn't so flimsy that a bear can swat it over?
Plant Land lot Grass Tree Landscape

The red hive withstood a bear this season. He was able to nudge the lid open and started pulling frames out but he started at the left end and the brood nest was on the right end. He also didn't know that there were Africanized bees in there so he quickly gave up and moved on without checking out the green and grey hives. I simply put a hasp on all the lids and stuck a loop of wire where the padlock would normally go and had no more problems even though the bear remained in the area all summer and several area beekeepers lost hives. The legs go an equal amount into the ground and are tied together underground. You would only need a table saw and an optional router to build these. (I cut the plywood outer panels large and then trim with a router.)
 

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jad0001,

Welcome to CO and COS. Send me a TM through BeeSource and I'll invite you to have a look/walk through of my apiary with an effective electric bear fence. I'm off the west side of Bear Creek Road and it has been in use for 15+ years.
If you are new to beekeeping, I would recommend that you join the Pikes Peak Beekeepers Association (Google it) ASAP and qualify to attend our ZOON meeting to be held at 7:00 PM MT next Thursday evening. You may also want to attend our (probably ZOOM ) bee school which will be in early March.
Cheers,
Steve
 

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If you are a hobbyist and are only going to have a few hives why not keep your bees in something that isn't so flimsy that a bear can swat it over?
View attachment 67104
The red hive withstood a bear this season. He was able to nudge the lid open and started pulling frames out but he started at the left end and the brood nest was on the right end. He also didn't know that there were Africanized bees in there so he quickly gave up and moved on without checking out the green and grey hives. I simply put a hasp on all the lids and stuck a loop of wire where the padlock would normally go and had no more problems even though the bear remained in the area all summer and several area beekeepers lost hives. The legs go an equal amount into the ground and are tied together underground. You would only need a table saw and an optional router to build these. (I cut the plywood outer panels large and then trim with a router.)
your kidding right?
have you ever seen a bear rip into a camp? as in thru a 2x4 wall. it was on a good foundation as well.
if that has worked for you, either you are lucky or your bears are not hungery.

GG
 

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your kidding right?
I was thinking the same thing.
We had a bear around here a few years ago that tour the metal siding off a building and then tour the side off a chest freezer to get at some chicken feed.
A fellow down the road caught him trying to get in his barn the second time and put a stop to that.
 

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Just a run of the mill black bear but maybe the easy way into my hive was for him to lift the lid and stand on his hind legs and most critter's beesuits don't protect their tummies very well. I put the entrance up because I was worried about skunks. These were also the nastiest bees I have ever worked with and it was a tremendous strong colony. Sorry about not knowing more about bears. They aren't very common around my neck of the woods but they do come around.
 

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The legs go an equal amount into the ground and are tied together underground.
Interesting idea! Once the dirt has settled a bit would be very hard to pull up.

Are the legs are pressure treated? And if so, did you find some that are rated for ground contact? Building suppliers around me only carry ground contact stuff in 4 x 4 and larger timbers, flat stuff like deck boards and 2 x whatever are not. Oddly neither are 'landscape timbers'...
 

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Interesting idea! Once the dirt has settled a bit would be very hard to pull up.

Are the legs are pressure treated? And if so, did you find some that are rated for ground contact? Building suppliers around me only carry ground contact stuff in 4 x 4 and larger timbers, flat stuff like deck boards and 2 x whatever are not. Oddly neither are 'landscape timbers'...
Just two ordinary 10' green treated 2x4s from Mills Fleet Farm. Need two per hive. I cut off 18 inches and then cut the remainder in half on a table saw with the blade at 45deg. The 18" piece ties the two legs together underground with 3" deck screws and it never hurts to dump a bucket of gravel or recycled concrete in the bottom of the hole to promote drainage. The 2x4 box that the hives sit on is carriage bolted to the legs (1/4-20 by 4"). These have been in place for 4 years now.
 

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Depends on how much money you have invested in your apiary... This conversation has come up several times before on Beesource. Those who have dealt successfully with black bears combined stallion fence inside with electric fence outside, or elevated platforms.

Multiple ways of annoying the bears is a good strategy. Barbed wire + concertina wire on the stallion fence + the electric fence, rat traps on the ground, loudspeaker triggered by opening lid, spring loaded "Jack-in-the-box" devices in the top super, punji stick pit, paint bombs, rubber rattle snakes that buzz, let your imagination run wild. Make him pay!

Do NOT use firecrackers nor other dangerous things that may start a fire. Heavy objects swinging out of trees need to be guided so as not to collide with the beehives, and reminder signs put out for humans to beware of traps.

Don't forget bear spray in your beekeeping kit, a shotgun loaded with salt in one bore and a rifled slug in the other (get your hunting license and bear tag!)

Love the bacon grease idea, Zippy!
 

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Barbed wire + concertina wire on the stallion fence + the electric fence,
Use a proper wire on the electric fence, you get a scared bear that walks, or sometimes runs, away. Use barbed wire on the electric fence, you get an injured angry bear that will tear your yard to shreds.
 

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Use a proper wire on the electric fence, you get a scared bear that walks, or sometimes runs, away. Use barbed wire on the electric fence, you get an injured angry bear that will tear your yard to shreds.
I have used barbed for years on the ele fence. the barbs poke into the hair and get the juice to the skin.
the smooth wire they lean against, if the posts are not solid, the whole thing tips over.
I also Like the grease idea (training)

GG
 

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I have 3 bee yards and have bear's every where. I'm in Pennsylvania and one of the high bear kill countries. How I do it is one single strand of wire and a soler fencer. What work for me is put aluminum foil on the wire and put peanut butter on it. You have to teach the bears one touch of there nose or there mouth. They never come back. I like the bacon grease idea to . Works for me never had a bear in a hive in 8 years. And bear tracks all around. Just how i do it.
 
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