I just saw a bear coming home from a meeting tonight. It was enormous, in the middle of the dirt road I was on. I slowed down to get a good look (felt very safe in my pickup), and he ambled off into the woods. I have an electric fence around my apiary and so far so good, but looking at him/her so close - those bees wouldn't stand a chance if he made a move on them.
The devastation of scattered, broken boxes and frames strewn all over your beeyard is really heart sickening. Bears really are beautiful tho. One of the great things about electric fences is it preserves both bear and bees. As our own Robert Frost said, good fences make good neighbors.
We have a lot of bears. But my hives are surrounded by a five foot chain link fence (which a bear would climb over) with two dogs guarding the place. The dogs are probably one of the reasons I haven't been hit.
5 or 6 years ago. A few minutes past midnight in an outyard. Putting together two scattered, broken and chewed hives. No time or light to find queens....just an attempt to get brood, bees and boxes together again. Headlamp. Full suit (not that it stopped everything as the bees crawled and stung). .44 magnum in a holster just in case. And, a rather large bear snapping teeth about 60 yards down hill finishing off a medium super as I slowly backed away. Here's a pic of the bear when I walked through the homeowners yard the next morning on my way to the hives. It was feasting on the numerous bird feeders he had out. I moved the hives that spring. It came back again even though I moved them quite a distance. I had them strapped onto pallets but it didn't matter. One morning, I was adding a super and I "felt" that I wasn't alone. As I strapped the hive down I heard a noise and the bear was scarring a small staghorn sumac about 20 yards or so from me. That was it. That night I went back, screened up the hives and moved them out of there. Here, in my home yard, I've had them three years running although last year it was a clumsy cub. It's funny. If you all visited me, my house and yard is 25 yards from the main road that goes right through town and you'd never think that bears are neighbors.
Early this spring what must've been a grown cub was in my woods yard. The dog was barking and it couldn't have cared less. I clanged pots and pans and it couldn't have cared less. I tried to spray it with the hose but the nozzle had frozen over winter and cracked, so I got soaked and it just stared at me. It lingered nearby, laid down, watched what we were doing like we were dinner and a show. I got the son's amp, turned it to screech and hung it out the window. Nothing alive could tolerate that noise, but the bear didn't care. It ambled closer to the beeyard and chicken coop, and the dog tried scaring it off. When it looked like the bear might lunge the dog (which probably wouldn't have happened, but you never know) I called the police to help. Finally when the cruiser came down the driveway, the bear decided it didn't want to mess with the law and ran off. I think that was the day we got the electric fence back connected after winter, and we never saw the bear again.
Before we got the fence (right before), last fall, a mother with 2 cubs got the hives twice. I shined a flashlight into the pine tree and saw 2 sets of glowing eyes up towards the top. The mother was strapped around the trunk of the tree. What a sight.
A few days ago, about 8:00pm, I watched a bear walk around my bee yard's electric fence. It stayed at least 3' away, and then went off into the woods. The fence is baited with smoked salmon scraps wrapped in foil.
A few years back, I was hiving a swarm and decided to leave them overnight, before moving the box inside the fence. Everything was smashed & mashed. I was able to combine any bees that survived. NH Fish & Game pays for some damaged hives.
A forum community dedicated to beekeeping, bee owners and enthusiasts. Come join the discussion about breeding, honey production, health, behavior, hives, housing, adopting, care, classifieds, and more!