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Author Topic: I've got bears--what next?!?  (Read 1463 times)
luvin honey
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« on: June 30, 2010, 10:05:08 PM »

Well, it's been that kind of year. Makes me wonder if I have what it takes to be a beek--which seems to be a lot of perseverance!! I lost what I thought would be my overwintered hive, my 2 new packages have EFB or chilled brood, and then last night I had a bear tear apart both of my colonies.

My topbar hive bodies are fine. The lids were pushed off, the bars torn out, and the comb is mostly gone.

My Carnie hive has most of the combs and bees left (2/3?), but I cannot find the queen. Thankfully, there are fresh eggs. My Italian hive has only 1 1/2 combs left, about 2-3 combs' worth of bees. Thank goodness, the queen is alive!

I put the hives back as best I could, put in pollen patties (I won't be using these again, but I had some left over, frozen, from last year when I thought that was a good plan) and syrup. I added in drawn comb so the queen could get right back to work ASAP. Then I closed things up and smeared deodorant all over the place. I didn't know what else to do to repel the bear/s if s/he decided to come back.

So, what should I do? I would be happy for a critique of all the above and suggestions for what to do next. Fence? Solar electric? This hive is bordered by woods from behind and prairie in front. Should I combine? See if the Italian hive is actually queenless? Any help is very appreciated!

luvin' honey (and afraid of not getting any, again, this year)
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hardwood
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« Reply #1 on: June 30, 2010, 10:10:51 PM »

Oh my heart goes out to you! I've only had a bear problem once so I'm probably not very qualified to answer your questions, but I would definitely look into an electric fence. I don't know how it is around you but I'd also be gunning for that bear(s) over the next day or two...it's bound to come back to pick up the leftovers.

So sorry for you Cry

Scott
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"In the first place, we should insist that if the immigrant who comes here in good faith becomes an American and assimilates himself to us, he shall be treated on an exact equality with everyone else, for it is an outrage to discriminate against any such man because of creed, or birthplace, or origin. But this is predicated upon the person's becoming in every facet an American, and nothing but an American...There can be no divided allegiance here. Any man who says he is an American, but something else also, isn't an American at all. We have room for but one flag, the American flag...We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language...And we have room for but one sole loyalty and that is a loyalty to the American people."

Theodore Roosevelt 1907
luvin honey
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« Reply #2 on: June 30, 2010, 10:21:37 PM »

Oh, I forgot the cool part! We SAW the/a bear this afternoon! I got done cleaning up the mess, let the kids play in the woods awhile behind the hives (oops?) and then headed home. We're about 1/3 mile from the hives. I was on the deck cleaning some veggies, turned around and started yelling. The kids were back home by then, and there was a big, fat ol' bear lumbering across the soybean field. If the angle was consistent, it probably came out not too far from behind the hives. We got the binocs, and it had something tan in its mouth just like honeycomb. I thoroughly cleaned all around the hives, but maybe it stashed some? Not sure what it was.... Hubby and kids found enormous scat pile behind the hives, rather fresh.

My husband hunts, but it's not bear season. We have some really, really serious consequences for poaching around here. I'd sure like to start with as much prevention as I can before leaning in that direction. Nuts about coming back to clean up. I was hoping I had a week or 2 to figure out what to do. It really is tempting to sleep out by the hives with a shotgun!

So, hardwood, what did you do after your bear attack? I read about this often on here, but it's suddenly so much more pertinent now that it has happened to me, you know?  tongue
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The pedigree of honey
Does not concern the bee;
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---Emily Dickinson
hardwood
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« Reply #3 on: June 30, 2010, 10:32:03 PM »

That attack occurred in a really remote bee yard and since I had other I just moved everything...I was getting robbed by two legged critters there to so I really need to move them (pretty funny to see foot prints that lead away from a hive for 15 ft or so and then find the stolen frames...my guess is the girls had him/them pretty busy).

Here we are allowed to dispose of an agricultural nuisance regardless of the hunting regs...might want to check on that. I'd definitely report the incident in any case to open the way for...er...eradicating the problem.

Scott
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"In the first place, we should insist that if the immigrant who comes here in good faith becomes an American and assimilates himself to us, he shall be treated on an exact equality with everyone else, for it is an outrage to discriminate against any such man because of creed, or birthplace, or origin. But this is predicated upon the person's becoming in every facet an American, and nothing but an American...There can be no divided allegiance here. Any man who says he is an American, but something else also, isn't an American at all. We have room for but one flag, the American flag...We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language...And we have room for but one sole loyalty and that is a loyalty to the American people."

Theodore Roosevelt 1907
jgaito
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« Reply #4 on: July 01, 2010, 09:45:40 AM »

if legal dispatch is not an option you might have to go to an electric fence.   i saw a nice solar setup that charged the fence fabric on the positive leg and a run of barb wire on top charged by the negative leg.  the charger and battery were in a box inside the fenced area.
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luvin honey
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« Reply #5 on: July 01, 2010, 10:04:33 AM »

Thank you. I'm assuming that keeping weeds short is crucial for all types of electric fencing, right?

Does any kind of scent work as a deterrent? Like human urine, dog, or anything? How about noises, motion-sensor lights or anything else? Thanks much!
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The pedigree of honey
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danno
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« Reply #6 on: July 01, 2010, 10:12:31 AM »

I just posted this on another thread but here goes again.    You can get away with far less voltage by placing 2" strips of tin foil folded over the top wire with a smear of peanut butter spread in it.   Put one every 10 or 12 feet.  The foil protects the peanut butter from sun and rain and the bear will lick or bite it before making it to the hives.  You do have to keep weed down so either keep them cut or spray with roundup.    The only sent that really works is the smell of lead on there backside
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jgaito
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« Reply #7 on: July 01, 2010, 10:35:51 AM »

Thank you. I'm assuming that keeping weeds short is crucial for all types of electric fencing, right?

Does any kind of scent work as a deterrent? Like human urine, dog, or anything? How about noises, motion-sensor lights or anything else? Thanks much!

if you go with a fence charger buy one that is classified as a "chopper" and of the highest output possible.  don't get hung up on the mileage capacity although it is somewhat an indicator of output.  i assumed your hives were remote but if not AC chargers are less expensive.   the installation i saw used T posts overlaid with PVC pipe as an insulator so the entire fence fabric could be charged.
this was way better than just running lengths of galvanized wire.  don't skimp on the ground rod, use two if you need to.
i found the link:
http://www.wildlife.state.co.us/NR/rdonlyres/9E4993AA-C6D0-4303-9A45-8D20FBD67FEF/0/BuildingASecureBeehiveEnclosureBrochure.pdf
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Robo
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« Reply #8 on: July 01, 2010, 12:12:45 PM »

I live in the heart of bear country.  Electric fence baited with peanut butter is the best thing I have found.  If you search the forum you will find it has been discussed numerous times in great detail.  The key is to bait it so they get zapped on the nose or mouth,  and they won't be back.   Otherwise, they will plow right through the fence and be protected by their fur.
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luvin honey
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« Reply #9 on: July 01, 2010, 12:40:24 PM »

Thanks so much for all the replies!

Does anybody have comments on how I put the hives back together and if my plan sounds okay? I would really love to pull these hives through and don't want to mess things up.
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The pedigree of honey
Does not concern the bee;
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Is aristocracy.
---Emily Dickinson
jgaito
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« Reply #10 on: July 01, 2010, 12:46:23 PM »

i've read that in several posts.  it's about training the bear not restricting it.
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AllenF
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« Reply #11 on: July 01, 2010, 02:22:15 PM »

Just go ahead and shoot him with a low cal. gun a few times, that way he will run off a ways before dying and you will not have to worry about disposing of him.  sss.
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AltamontBee
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« Reply #12 on: July 10, 2010, 08:23:55 PM »

Many beekeepers in my area had problems with bears in the beeyard this year - the closest one was just down the road from us.  On the advice of another beekeeper, we put up an electric fence.  We are in a fairly wooded area, so we went with an electric fence that runs off of a small engine battery (it is mounted in a box on a post to keep it out of the weather).  The whole set-up only cost about 250.00 at our local Agway.  A lot less than replacing my seven hives.  So far, so good.

Good luck!
Jennifer
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luvin honey
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« Reply #13 on: July 10, 2010, 11:59:08 PM »

Welcome AltamontBee! And thanks for helping me out with your very first post Smiley It would be great if you would list your general or specific whereabouts--it often helps when people are helping answer questions.

We did exactly as you suggest. No more bears, but there are also no more bees. I'm trying not to be sick about it, but after only 1 full year with bees, I really, really miss watching them.
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The pedigree of honey
Does not concern the bee;
A clover, any time, to him
Is aristocracy.
---Emily Dickinson
Robo
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« Reply #14 on: July 11, 2010, 08:06:58 AM »

I have a few Agway fencers and they seem to be built well.  The only draw back I have experienced with them is they seem to drain down the battery much quicker than a Parmak.   Mine aren't the latest models, so perhaps they have improved on the power consumption.   

Just please keep a close eye on them until you understand how long a battery would last.   It is very disappointing to find bear damage because your fencer was off.

I have found that the battery models (in general, not just Agway) are much less prone to lightning damage than AC units.  It must be the surge on the powerline that fries them.
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"Opportunity is missed by most people because it comes dressed in overalls and looks like work." - Thomas Edison


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