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Hi from the beautiful Berkshires, MA

909 Views 6 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  AmericasBeekeeper
I've been considering beekeeping for a little while, but 2 concerns...first, our home is in bear country. Any way to keep the bears away from the hives? Second, this is our weekend home and sometimes it is 2-3 weeks between visits. Still plausible to raise bees? THANKS!!
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A really good electric fence will (reportedly) keep bears away. I think there are even some that can be powered by solar-charged batteries. There are beekeepers here with bear-protected remote yards who may be able to suggest brands, etc.

As to the absence of a couple of weeks - it depends. In winter, not a problem if the bees are left in good order. While in soome other seasons it could be fine, in others you may need to do stuff every week. For instance in the Spring there is more frequent care needed to avoid swarming. I find I am checking my hives weekly or every ten days. (In this case "checking" doesn't mean going to see them - it means opening them up and rearranging thing inside.) And early on, when they are first getting established, I think it would be better to be able to at least observe them weekly.

And in the event of a big external problem, bad storm, bear attempt, vandalism, or a bee problem like robbing or loss of a queen, a lengthy absence could result in a total loss that if it had been noticed and corrected could have been salvaged.

But speaking as a not-quite one year beekeeper: I wouldn;t want to be away from my bees for weeks at a time, they're far too fascinating!

Maybe you could do something in-between for your first summer: find a local beekeeper and go help them when you're at your vacation place to see if you really love bees (and get some expereince at the same time.) You know people keep bees in the City, too.

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Bee keeping just is not like it use to be. Many years ago I use to start a hive and never go back to it until I added supers, I checked occasionally to see that I had a laying queen. but other than that I don't suppose I was to proactive. Today it is a whole new ballgame, Mites, Small Hive beetles, and the viruses and problems they bring require one to be more attentive. However that is not to that a well started hive cannot be left for several weeks. I have hives that are several hours drive from my home. I follow a regular care regimen. As a result I do not have to check those hive weekly. Yes there are instance when a problem can occur that timely intervention would make a difference, however by understanding your program, and following it consistently these problems become the exception and not the rule.

As for the bears, it's doable.
Welcome to Beesource!

Yes, electric fences are suitable for keeping bears away from beehives. Bees can certainly manage on their own without beekeeper intervention for 3 weeks and even longer.
Welcome to BeeSource! Go with the electric fence but bee sure it's up BEEFORE the hives are in place!
Welcome to Beesource!
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