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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I'm not yet a beekeeper, and I do not yet have bees, but I had been pretty psyched up about getting a pair of hives for my suburban backyard in southern CT and had read a good half-dozen books and put aside enough pennies to get some woodworks and some bees.

I took a class recently for CT beekeeping and the one takeaway I got from the somewhat poorly organized class was "BEARS!"

AAaahhh! Bears! (you can imaging some pretty conservative folks waving their arms about and looking terrified if you like -- they didn't do that in front of the group but the point was made just as well)

So, it is well known that the northwest corner of CT is a pretty bear-y place, but I'm not anywhere near there. I've checked the DEP sightings list for the last 12 months and there are zero (0) sightings in my town, but 12 total in all the surrounding towns.

To the point: should I be waiting another season and spending my time saving for and installing a bear fence now? Do fellow part-time CT beekeepers (1-5 backyard hives) in or near New Haven County make preparations for black bear prevention?

I've not ordered any bees or hives now because I've been researching fencing and I'm none too pleased.
 

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I would imagine an electic fence would not cost too teribble much expecially in your own yard. Thats what a beek that keeps bees on our hunting property uses and he has to use batteries for the fence. You could just plug it in which would be less of a headache.
 

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If bear are unusual in your neighborhood, you could probably get the hives and then look into the bear risk a little more. You can always add the fence later.

Of course the risk is that bear find the hives before they are protected. Once they learn that there are hives to be had, a little fence may not stop them.

I've got the critters skulking about, so I put a fence up right away. The fence and solar charger ran me about $300. You could probably do one for about $200 if you have an outlet nearby.
 

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Bad assumptions to make include but are not limited to:
- Bears typically arent sighted, so they're probably not here. None of the neighbors have seen them.
- I live in town so I'm probably safe. (Ha, yeah, I remember - those were my exact words.)
- Sightings were a little ways away. How far can a bear travel, really?
- There is a wealth of wisdom telling me to wait and see before I dump money into a fence setup. Let's try and see how it goes. Maybe after I get hit once, I'll put one up then. :rolleyes:

http://www.beesource.com/forums/showthread.php?t=218327

Seriously - there are a multitude of threads on this site that detail folks being shocked when their urban/suburban beeyards were hit by bear. I even put one up myself early in my beekeeping. Take some wisdom away from the folks on this site who offer it.
- Items that exist that you rarely see include the air you breath every day. Don't use the reasoning that because most don't see it, it's probably not there. Bear feed mostly at night. Folks are probably not up at night to see them. Bear still do come into towns to feed on garbage, birdfeeders, beehives, etc.
- As stated, once a bear gets a taste of a free meal, it will often come back, even if it is in town. Don't train your bears that beehives are free - teach them that there is pain associated with hitting a beehive. If not for yourself, at least do this for the fellow beekeepers in your area.
- Bear will travel quite a distance, especially at the right time of year. Bear can smell food sources miles away. A male bear's range can stretch to 60 square miles and sometimes even greater than that.
- The first time that you get hit by a bear, you may lose more than you would have invested initially in a reasonable solar or plug-in setup. You will then be hit again becuase the bear was trained that there was a tasty reward associated with the beehive in your yard. It may take more effort after that to get the point across to the bear. You've also done your neighboring beeks an injustice because they're now fighting off this rogue bear as well.

Be responsible and do the right thing.

My $0.02.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Quite the illuminating thread, dug. Pretty much confirming my gut feeling that fencing is important whether or not you are in a known high-bear-traffic area.

I'll have to work out some fencing then.

I'll do some searching around the forums a bit, but any quick recommendations on an effective solar fence charger?
 

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I have the small fi-shock in one of my outyards. It's in a very bear-y place and so far no problems. It was about $100 on horse.com. If you can put one on an outlet you can save yourself quite a bit of money.
 

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Quite the illuminating thread, dug. Pretty much confirming my gut feeling that fencing is important whether or not you are in a known high-bear-traffic area.

I'll have to work out some fencing then.

I'll do some searching around the forums a bit, but any quick recommendations on an effective solar fence charger?
Given there where 10 sightings in Walingford I would be a bit worried. If you're in CT and have a hive that sufferes bear damage there are forms on the CT beekeepers website to fill out.
 

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I'm not saying there is no risk. I am saying I consider the risk low. I have seen people confuse large black dogs for bears. The DEP sight only lists the number of sightings over a year's time span. With more detailed reporting we would have a better idea of whether or not this was the same bear sighted over a short time frame or a more persistent resident. This may have been a young bear passing through.

Are you aware of any recent, nearby tracks, scat or destroyed trash containers or bird feeders?
 
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