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Discussion Starter #1
In the interest of revealing our total insanity and the fact that we've got nothing better to do while eagerly awaiting our first two nucs, I thought I'd share our new apiary.

Location: Grant Co. WV, elevation 1860 ft, plant hardiness zone 6b, remote from any agricultural fields, largely wooded mountainside with tulip poplars, black locusts, blueberries, huckleberries, blackberries, myriad wildflowers. A large meadow is a half-mile flight away. Native bees abound, but Apis sightings are rare. However, we spotted a single honeybee checking out the new apiary yesterday, so there must be some neighbors in flying distance.

Pest concerns: Black bears, skunks, raccoons, mice, and some large black ants with a demonstrated love of sugar and bark beetle grubs. We figured we should avoid letting any of the above develop a taste for bees or their products.

Apiary features: 7 ft high fence, 4x4 posts spaced 40.5 inches, with 42" wide panels of remesh (physically strong enough that it should stop black bears), 3 joule 7.5 kV electric fence charger (sufficient energy to get the attention of a bear). Remesh is grounded to deliver a particularly strong "negative reinforcement" to curious critters. Hive stand is my variation on the Charlie B pipe, plastic cap, and grease arrangement. These grease cups are split to allow removal, cleaning, and re-greasing. Ground is covered with weedblock and crusher-run gravel (may make life rough on SHB larvae). Small ... stand can hold 3-4 8-frame hives but enclosure can expand to double capacity by adding two posts and moving two posts.

Still to finish: Steel strap enhancement of remesh attachment, smaller mesh fencing inside lower parts of remesh to keep out smaller mammals, remesh the gate and hang it, weather cover for the fence energizer (nothing on the box said one was required ... grrrrr!). Ah, and the whole automated datalogging with hive scales, temperature, humidity, bee activity, and apidictor.

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Discussion Starter #2
If you are wondering why we have that dangerous-looking sign by the gate, we're attempting to be compliant with the West Virginia Honeybee Best Management Practices guidelines. The full text of the applicable law may be found on line (and was discussed here a few years back), but the big advantage for us is that if we comply with the guidelines, one particular local pest (a litigious neighbor) would have no grounds to sue.

Most of the requirements are just good bee stewardship, but they do specifically want some warning signs up saying you have bees.

http://www.legis.state.wv.us/wvcode/ChapterEntire.cfm?chap=19&art=13
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I try to avoid it. Noobees getting carried away before we got our bees.

Ah, the fence itself, probably $200-300. Fence charger and electric fence supplies, about another $300. Renting the post hole digger was maybe $150-ish. I just ran power conduit down to it ... $240 to rent the trencher, delivered and picked up, plus conduit, and still need the power cable and waterproof receptacle. Sheesh, that'll probably be another $200.

The bee stand was fairly cheap except that steel pipe in pre-threaded 2 and 4 ft lengths is way overpriced.

However, we've found an unanticipated benefit. The bees in this enclosure are very gentle. We picked up a nuc a friend raised for us and it, like his bees, were irritable. He has no protection around them and is in skunk and racoon country, so I suspect they were being pestered. Moved to our apiary and they calmed down immediately. Apparently they feel safe in there.
 

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Even though I would give you an A+ for effort I would hereby like to place a small wager that if you think that the structure pictured is adequate to keep bears at bay you will one day be sorely disappointed. I have seen them summarily dismantle "secure" enclosures built well beyond your specs on many occasions. Well beyond!!!!

For your bees sake I hope I'm wrong as there are only about four things that keep them out and keep them from returning . 1. Heavy gauge chain link buried to a depth of a foot or more in cement. 2. Impenetrably wide nail strips on all access points. 3. Unclimbable tower stands with the decks out of reach. 4. .30-06 soft tips....
 

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Very Nice! Keep in mind that you should be able to turn off your fencer from outside of the box, and depending upon how prevalent the bears are in your neck of the woods up there, you may want to be able to turn it on from inside of the box too.. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Even though I would give you an A+ for effort I would hereby like to place a small wager that if you think that the structure pictured is adequate to keep bears at bay you will one day be sorely disappointed. I have seen them summarily dismantle "secure" enclosures built well beyond your specs on many occasions. Well beyond!!!!

For your bees sake I hope I'm wrong as there are only about four things that keep them out and keep them from returning . 1. Heavy gauge chain link buried to a depth of a foot or more in cement. 2. Impenetrably wide nail strips on all access points. 3. Unclimbable tower stands with the decks out of reach. 4. .30-06 soft tips....
Well, I do have the .30-06 with soft tips. And the 3 joule charger is strong enough to get a bear's attention, when smaller models won't.

The fence design is derived from a local zoo that use it for a tiger cage. I would not put it up against grizzly bears, but, with those extra straps now installed to keep them from peeling down the remesh, it should stop our much smaller black bears.
 

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Well, I do have the .30-06 with soft tips. And the 3 joule charger is strong enough to get a bear's attention, when smaller models won't.

The fence design is derived from a local zoo that use it for a tiger cage. I would not put it up against grizzly bears, but, with those extra straps now installed to keep them from peeling down the remesh, it should stop our much smaller black bears.
According to what i've seen in the past, if you allow a bear to get it's nose through your electric wire it will generally push on through. So with your design, I think if it were me, i'd focus on beefing up the amount of electric wire surrounding the fort, keeping them about 4 to 6 inches apart. The cattle panel type mesh behind will serve you well since it is well grounded, also think about running you a separate ground from your fencer straight to those pannels. If a bear gets it's nose busted a couple times it gets the message. lol..
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I have grounded the remesh panels to the electric fence ground system, for the very reason that a bear trying to get past the fence tape will get an extremely effective jolt from due to the grounded mesh. I've also inadvertently tested it. 7.5 kV and 3 J is really, really memorable!
 

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Yes, i'd say it was very memorable. I've gotten bit a few time from fencer's in the past. Not fun. lol. How do you plan to turn it off and on as needed?
 

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Even though I would give you an A+ for effort I would hereby like to place a small wager that if you think that the structure pictured is adequate to keep bears at bay you will one day be sorely disappointed. I have seen them summarily dismantle "secure" enclosures built well beyond your specs on many occasions. Well beyond!!!!

For your bees sake I hope I'm wrong as there are only about four things that keep them out and keep them from returning . 1. Heavy gauge chain link buried to a depth of a foot or more in cement. 2. Impenetrably wide nail strips on all access points. 3. Unclimbable tower stands with the decks out of reach. 4. .30-06 soft tips....
What does YOUR fence look like? NOBODY around here does anything beyond a couple of runs of electric fence wire, and most don't do that. I know of three small commercial bee yards the next valley over, and those hives just sit in a field on cinderblocks.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Yes, i'd say it was very memorable. I've gotten bit a few time from fencer's in the past. Not fun. lol. How do you plan to turn it off and on as needed?
My wife wants to be able to turn it off from inside the house or from the bee yard. Straighforward, but I think it will need an indicator lamp visible from the house if we do that. And I want one outlet to be unswitched. Gotta see what cable is available, because this is looking like 4-conductor + ground underground NM, which may be a rare bird.

DR, your place is not that far from mine, so you've got the same breed of bears. Had any major problems, and what sort of fence do you run?
 

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I think you can get away with using a 3 wire with ground. Standard 12-3 wire. It will have 3 wires with insulation on it with a standard bare copper. Use 2 of the wires for your hot wires, the third for a common ground, and a bare wire for static ground on both. Should do the trick and keep the budget down too.
 

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If you already have conduit buried - presumably PVC with glued joints - you can use individual stands of THHN wire plus a bare ground. One non-switched hot wire, one switched hot wire, one neutral insulated wire, plus bare ground.

Or get fancy and install an extra wire so that the switched circuit can be a "three way" circuit so you can control it from either the house or bee yard.

THHN will be much easier to pull through the conduit, and may be more affordable since you need 3 (or more) insulated conductors.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
It is buried 1 1/4 pvc conduit but I'd have to check the code on depths. I chose a depth where underground cable alone would be too shallow, but cable in PVC is considered safe. I didn't look up individual THHN in this application. I tend not to trust underground conduit to stay dry because it almost invariably forms a U underground, so I usually wuss out and use underground cable in it. It certainly is an option, and I have red and white in stock, need a fresh roll of black anyway. I think I have enough blue but it is solid 14 AWG, and I usually refuse to use anything smaller than 12 AWG because I'm a--- retentive. The circuit will, of course, be GFCI.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I must have looked up a different table, probably without GFCI. Originally I was looking for 18" depth because that's the deepest I could go with the biggest trencher Sunbelt rented that would fit in my pickup. I was thinking the 12" was OK only under a hard pavement.

But then I found a local outfit that would deliver a big-un that could do 36". I would up aiming for 24" to be sure I missed the drain field, but the rocks make it as shallow as 18" in spots. So I guess I can get away with anything I want to.
 

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think about putting in mains power for your oxalic treatment and that saves you lugging a battery or buying the more expensive foggers also you will have main electricity for any jobs around that area just a thought.
 

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think about putting in mains power for your oxalic treatment and that saves you lugging a battery or buying the more expensive foggers also you will have main electricity for any jobs around that area just a thought.
Yup. I want an unswitched outlet and some means of switching power to the fence charger. The automated hive scale and temperature system I intend to install wants some juice, too. I bet a lot of beeks with remote apiaries wish there were an outlet handy.
 

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My concern would be on the low end where you have rocks piled up at the base. I would think that's an easy beginning for a bear or something smaller to dig under the fence there. I would guess one could at least easily get a hold of the 2x4 avoiding the electric fence on bottom and pull it apart. I don't have bear experience, with bees anyway, but they are strong and resourceful.
 
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