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I've a question for those who have experience with black bears in the bee yard.

Yesterday I did an inspection on a new yard and found my first loss to bear.

A nuc was toppled, and the bear tore up some comb, and apparently only sampled 2 frames.
Then nuc was broodless as a virgin was recently emerged and this has been her mating week.

There are four other colonies in that yard, none of which were touched...though the bear apparently lounged in the grass eight feet behind the hive stand.

Is it unusual (as I think it is) for a bear to only bother one (small) hive in yard of several?

(The others are securely ratchet strapped until I can get an electric fence up.)
 

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the bear ate till it was satisfied, knows where a food source is and will someday revisit, I would like to see a ratchet strap that would keep out a determined bear. Put some peanut butter on some foil folded over the electrc fence, the foil folded on itself protects the peanut butter from washing away and the bear will sniff or lick it and get his deterent and hopefully learn his lesson.
 

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I agree with Pelz regarding the bear eating until satisfied, and a future revisit likely. I disagree on baiting the fence. It is a common practice I know, and many swear by its effectiveness. I view it as unethical.
 

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I've a question for those who have experience with black bears in the bee yard.

Is it unusual (as I think it is) for a bear to only bother one (small) hive in yard of several?
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When you think of bear behavior there is only one thing to keep in mind.

As long as it can walk and eat it will only follow one principle.

To quote one of California's famous and not so illustrative past governor on a bears propensity to return for what is not his.

"I'll be back."
 

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Im with you on that one Charlie:applause: I am currently setting up a fence to where I am moving a hive. I only have 2 so I sure hope the bears leave mine alone.
 

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unethical to trick a bear into a shock?? how ethical was it for him to smash your hive????
Now your ascribing anthropomorphism to the bear. Bears operate on instinct and eating is how they survive. Ethics has nothing to do with the actions of a bear.
 

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a shock on the nose is the best scenario, if you want to take chance on getting through fur, suit yourself, saw my lab walk through my fence with no shocks, good luck. We fenced entire fields with a single electric ribbon to prevent loss to deer, they could have crawled under or jumed with ease, but it was effective because we exploited their nature to sniff it first, it had peanut butter and cooking oil mix on it.
 

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I had a bear visit one of my yards one time in SC. She knocked over a cpl two story hives and a cpl of nucs. She took frames from one nuc out into the woods, eating what was in the frames as she went. I moved the yard the evening of the day I found what had happened.
 

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Im with you on that one Charlie:applause: I am currently setting up a fence to where I am moving a hive. I only have 2 so I sure hope the bears leave mine alone.
Be sure the bear can't reach the hive from outside the fence. You will find the hive pulled over onto the fence.
 

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Are you serious? We are placing bees right in the middle of their habitat!
Well, okay, but isn't it sometimes our habitat more than it is the bear's? For example, our place in the North Country was farmed for over 150 years. Bears who visited that farm were undoubtedly made into bearskin rugs. Who does that habitat belong to now?
 

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Would it be unethical to shoot the bear?
I'm sure there are situations where it would be. I'm always amazed that some will elevate their bees worth over that of another animal, simply because they want to keep bees. There needs to be a respect for both and efforts made to allow both to exist.
 

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If there were as many bears in Chicago as there in the Elmira,NY area eating your hives you might sing another song. :)
 

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No, I'd just be as frustrated as those in Elmira. :) I know we've had this discussion before, where it was certain birds eating bees. Regardless of what "your" bee pest is, we all have them and should work towards a solution that preserves both. One persons "pest" is another persons "pet."
 

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I like what I saw when your bees were in the blueberries in Maine. That looked like a sensible approach.
 

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Well, okay, but isn't it sometimes our habitat more than it is the bear's? For example, our place in the North Country was farmed for over 150 years. Bears who visited that farm were undoubtedly made into bearskin rugs. Who does that habitat belong to now?
Farming and bears go together.

I am not opposed to bears becoming bear skin rugs in instances where there is repeat bad (from a resident human perspective) bear behavior - as an example, repeat entry into a properly constructed and decently maintained smoke house.

I arrived at my position after a long talk with a wildlife biologist bear specialist - are all wildlife biologists going to agree on this? I doubt it.

And I have lost bees to bear before. I can't say I liked it.

This is why on this forum I talk a bunch about electric fence voltage - and properly constructed electric fences. You can have the best rated (joules) equipment in the world and if it is not setup properly the fence isn't going to be effective at keeping bears out.

I've thought about cages similar to the one Mark posted in a picture last year. At least one of the blueberry companies is using them more frequently during pollination season.

Might I think differently if my last dollar were invested in my bees? Perhaps. But that is not the case so I can afford my position. I know of some hobbyist beekeepers who are using chain-link dog fences around their bees.

From my perspective (and I am very much a hobbyist who hopes one day to make Grant's "Ton of Honey") there needs to be adequate forage available for bears locally outside of my bee yards. As an example, there are a bunch of wild blackberries here - most get left for the bears. I could go nuts harvesting wild foods like blackberries but then would have no one to blame but myself if Yogi decides to dine on my bees.

Am I a hopeless romantic, too crunchy for words? I hope not. I am doing my best to coexist with the bears, keeping them out of my bees and garden with properly constructed (and regularly tested) electric fences. I'd just as soon the bears not be investigating my yards by issuing them an attractive invitation.
 

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I hate to say it, but I think Yogi would be more interested in your bees than your blackberries. All those carbs and the protein-rich larvae.

I'm just a few miles from Mark's place in NY, so I hope I won't have bear problems. He's a little closer to the Park than I am, and if he doesn't worry much about bears, maybe I'll be okay.

I think there is an argument of a non-ethical nature about peanut butter and other attractants. The scent of the attractants might draw bears as much as the scent of bees. And apparently bears are pretty clever about getting through fences, even electrified ones.

I'm a lot more concerned about deer in the garden. Some of my gardening neighbors in NY have those 8 foot fences around their gardens.
 
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