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Author Topic: your success solar fence chargers  (Read 3139 times)
PalmerLakeColo
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« on: March 09, 2012, 10:39:16 AM »

I'm starting beekeeping this Spring and the bears will be coming hungry in the next couple of months. I was wondering if anybody had any recommendations for a solar fence charger and fence set up. Any suggestions would help.
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Vance G
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« Reply #1 on: March 09, 2012, 12:07:43 PM »

University of Minneasota has a plan they developed.  It may be a little overkill, but bears don't get in.
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« Reply #2 on: March 10, 2012, 08:02:04 AM »

I've tried many brands and my preference is Parmak.  The key to electric fences is it MUST be baited otherwise they will walk right through it.  You need to zap them on their nose or tongue.  I use scrap pieces of #8 hardware cloth hung on the wire smeared with peanut butter.
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yockey5
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« Reply #3 on: March 10, 2012, 10:52:40 AM »

I've tried many brands and my preference is Parmak.  The key to electric fences is it MUST be baited otherwise they will walk right through it.  You need to zap them on their nose or tongue.  I use scrap pieces of #8 hardware cloth hung on the wire smeared with peanut butter.

I never thought about this, but I can sure see how 'bait' would be needed.
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« Reply #4 on: March 10, 2012, 03:45:56 PM »

Also be sure that with any solar charger you purchase,that you  check it's output after sundown. One with a short lived battery will not offer protection when it may be needed most.
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« Reply #5 on: March 10, 2012, 06:15:34 PM »

Robos advice is good but I dont agree that bait is the key.

The key with bears is they use their nose and tongue to investigate everything.  IF you use highly visible poly tape they will investigate it and not just walk through it.  I fear bait is just that, bait.  I dont want to bait bears, I just want to make sure they know the fence is there and will get the needed shock where it counts to keep em out.  I would rather not advertise my yard with bacon or peanut butter.

I use poly tape or barb wire with flags.  I make my own solar powered fence systems that are total over kill but over kill is better than under par. 

I use a stand alone battery powered fencer http://www.fishock.com/store/electric-fence-charger/ss-2000x
$60 at menards

a deep cycle battery from farm and fleet first one is still working four years and going now
$60

Instapark™ 15W Mono-crystalline Solar Panel and comes with a controller.
http://www.amazon.com/Instapark-99-15W-Mono-crystalline-Solar-Panel/dp/B004FX10ES
$55 amazon

I know it works well because I had a swarm I shook of a bush outside of the fence and I was dumb enough to leave it there for about a month.  When I came to the yard to move it to another yard, all that was left were boxes, bits of frames and a cluster of bees hanging to box.  The hives in the fence never got touched then or since.  A few bears get caught on deer cams 100 or so yards away every year.

Do whatever makes you feel safe but you absolutly need a fence, thats for sure.  I have had two run ins with bears and I hope to never deal with one again.
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« Reply #6 on: March 10, 2012, 08:48:53 PM »

It is fine to disagree and it sounds like your method is working for you.    A little bit of peanut butter is no more of a bait than those big bee hives you have on the other side of the fence.   All I can say is that I have never had a bear issue with a properly baited fence.  I have had plenty of bear issue when the fence was not baited.

I once had 5 bear in my yard and they tore into my chicken coop to get feed.  They kept coming back every night until I finally put an electric fence around the coop.  In that time they broke through my garden fence and turned over a bunch of stuff in my yard as well.   I had six hives on a trailer with a single baited wire around it, and they never disturbed it.
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beyondthesidewalks
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« Reply #7 on: March 10, 2012, 11:46:27 PM »

I lived entirely off the grid when I first moved to my current home for 7 years (been here now 12 years).  It's not necessarily as fun as it sounds nor romantic.  It's actually a bunch of work and requires almost daily attention.  That being said I needed an instant, inexpensive way to fence my property without grid power.  Hot wire fit the bill.  I originally built my own fence chargers using an electronic bistable multivibrator of my own design that let me change the pulse and rest time of the pulsing fence charger.  It also used a standard automotive coil that can be found in any junk yard and tested with a standard ohmmeter.  I added to these a 100 amp hour battery, 10 or 20 watt solar panel I scrounged from the dumpster at a previous employer and an ASC brand 8 amp solar charge controller.  These worked fine but I needed several of them and the homebuilt controller took much time to build and test.  I opted for the store bought 12 volt versions that cost me anywhere from $60 to $90, depending on the mile rating (the higher the mile rating, the hotter the shock).  I've also tried some of the integrated models that you can buy at feed, farm supply and even big box home improvement stores.  In a word they stink.  None of the models I tried lasted.  Like bee-nuts I think that the fence charging system with discreet panel, battery, fence charger and solar charge controller are the best solution.  When one part of them fails you can troubleshoot and replace just the broken part.  By over-engineering you can build a fence system that will outlast the longest string of cloudy days and keep your fence hot overnight.  From my experience it's definitely the way to go.

I know of a few folks that bait their fence with bacon for a range of critters, including bear.  Hot wire is a psychological barrier.  The targeted animal must be trained to avoid the hot wire.  Baiting accomplishes this.  There are several other things you can do to make sure you deliver the hottest charge possible to the bear.  The first thing is use more than one ground rod.  The most common shortcoming of electric fence systems is the poor grounding system.  It's like the antenna that sends the charge through the ground to the animal that you intend to shock.  You can also alternate hot and ground wires so that when the animal gets their nose between the two wires they feel the full force of your fence charger.  Another thing I've seen people do on small yards like an apiary is run chicken wire on the ground around the yard, hold it down with tent stakes and tie it to the ground side of the fence charger.  This way the targeted animal stands on the chicken wire, touches the hot wire and feels the full force of the fence charger(a great way to overcome dry soil during a drought).  Suffice it to say I've done a little research on the topic and made just about every mistake possible.
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Jim 134
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« Reply #8 on: March 11, 2012, 10:08:34 AM »

bee-nuts....

Bears can smell bee hives for about 10 to 12 miles

How far can a bears smell peanut butter Huh

And ones the bears get the taste for bees at electric fence WILL NOT STOP BEARS  

It is fine to disagree and it sounds like your method is working for you.    A little bit of peanut butter is no more of a bait than those big bee hives you have on the other side of the fence.   All I can say is that I have never had a bear issue with a properly baited fence.  I have had plenty of bear issue when the fence was not baited.


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« Last Edit: March 11, 2012, 10:42:01 AM by Jim 134 » Logged

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« Reply #9 on: March 11, 2012, 10:40:49 AM »

That's what I've been told.  If you don't get the bears on the nose real good the first time they can come up to the fence, put their back against it and lay it down, not feeling any shock throught their fur.  I have the same problem with bulls.  You've got to get them on the nose the first time.  It's not a physical barrier.  It's a psychological barrier.

One thing that helps is using barbed wire for the electric strands.  The barbed wire will push through the fur and do a better job of shocking them.  According to most that's a big no no but I don't think you're worried about a bear having a bad night with a fence charger.  Livestock can get entangled in barbed wire.

Also, the larger your mile rating on the fence charger, the hotter the fence.  If you use a 60 or 100 mile charger around a small bee yard that first shock is going to really get their attention.  Springs at the end of your lines will help the fence stretch and stay intact unless they run right through it.
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Robo
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« Reply #10 on: March 11, 2012, 10:55:45 AM »

And ones the bears get the taste for bees at electric fence WILL NOT STOP BEARS  

That has been my experience as well.  Once a yard gets hit, the only thing to do is evacuate all the hives from that yard or you will just be fighting a loosing battle.

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« Reply #11 on: March 11, 2012, 11:00:14 AM »

"Bears can smell bee hives for about 10 to 12 miles"
Is that an open hive, a smashed hive, or what.  12 miles! I dont believe that without the right circumstances!

"How far can a bears smell peanut butter"
How far can bears smell a strip of bacon or penut butter hanging out in the bare elements.  Now that is a good question, sorry I dont have the answer but I'm guessing a lot farther and easier than honey in a box with a small hole but I could be wrong.

"And ones the bears get the taste for bees at electric fence WILL NOT STOP BEARS"

That is DEAD WRONG, or I would not have had any hives left in the example I gave nor would anyone else in bear country because bears travel for many, many miles and in my neck of the woods and most beeks out there, there is a bear that has gotten into a beehive in the range of just about every apiarist yet most are able to keep bears out.

Many have stopped problem bears with electric fence.  There are always a few that will not be deterred by any means but a bullet aka the "sss" method!

I am not saying bacon or peanut butter will not work, I just personally think its advertising and I would rather my fence not be tested by bears any more than needed.
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« Reply #12 on: March 11, 2012, 11:16:06 AM »

Nothing is every a definitive answer, especially when dealing with wildlife.  However,  anyone that has had reoccurring bear issues will tell you prevention is a much better solution that trying to stop it once it starts happening.  Evacuating a yard is the only way to guarantee no further damage,  and in most cases the easiest solution as well.
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« Reply #13 on: March 11, 2012, 12:04:28 PM »

I agree Robo!  I cant tell you how happy I was that my fence kept the bear from continuing to feast on my hives.  I was sick however that I was foolish and lazy enough to leave a hive unprotected for almost a month.  Needless to say I was worried it would return yet it did not.  I even put up a trail cam a couple weeks later to see if it was coming back and testing my fence but it did not.

My brother, uncle, cousin, and family friends all hunt there and there are trail cams set up each year and bears are always caught on them.  One did not like them and was pulling them down off of trees making some odd pictures.

Anyway to each his own, baited or not, electric fence is an essential ingredient of beekeeping these days in most parts.
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PalmerLakeColo
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« Reply #14 on: March 20, 2012, 04:19:48 AM »

Thanks you all for your advice and input to my question.  I'll get that fence up ASAP.
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oregonbeeman
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« Reply #15 on: May 31, 2012, 02:14:08 AM »

I use electric fences for pigs. The solar ones have never worked for me. All the ones i tried just don't shock hard enough to keep a pig in. I have the best luck with the 120v or battery fence chargers
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« Reply #16 on: May 31, 2012, 04:57:45 AM »

I use electric fences for pigs. The solar ones have never worked for me. All the ones i tried just don't shock hard enough to keep a pig in. I have the best luck with the 120v or battery fence chargers

Then make your own solar powered fencer
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« Reply #17 on: June 04, 2012, 01:20:11 PM »

Interesting thread. Pigs. (lot of them here!) Will they go after a hive? That is the only critter on 4 legs you have to worry about here unless rats could be an issue.

Mahalo,

Royall
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« Reply #18 on: June 04, 2012, 04:24:17 PM »

We have tons of feral pigs here too and I've never had a problem with them getting into my bees. If they were to somehow knock over a hive I'm sure the bees would teach them not to do it again pretty quickly!

I do have the occasional rat or mouse get in but that's more of a problem in colder climates as they seek the heat of the hive during winter. It's not a big enough problem here to do anything about.

Scott
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