Once a bear develops a taste for honey, bee larva, and the bees themselves, it will likely continue to raid bee yards and reactive methods to dissuade it are less effective than preventative measures. And if one bear finds the bee hives, other bears will likely follow. Therefore, it is important to protect your investment by taking proactive measure to prevent bear damage before it begins.
- Beehives should be located at least 50 yards from forest tree lines or other sources of cover for bears.
- Electric fencing is the most effective and efficient method for preventing bear damage to beehives.
- Electric fencing can either be made permanent, for a bee yard that will not be moved, or temporary.
- Electric fencing is the least expensive way of solving most bear depredation problems in bee yards.
- Fencing is only effective if it is maintained.
- Contrary to popular belief, commission employees will not trap and relocate nuisance bears because this would simply move the problem, rather than solve it.
Electric Fencing Construction
Solar-charged or 110 volt electric fencing is one of the most effective methods to reduce black bear damage.
An electric fence must be well grounded, sufficiently charged at all times, and maintained on a regular basis.
There are two main types of electric fences; permanent/semi-permanent electric fences and a temporary electric fence. Select the type that is appropriate for your colony size and budget.
For detailed instructions on constructing both temporary and permanent electric fences, click here to download further information on electric fences. (536 kb pdf)
Baiting the Fence
- Only bait the wires if bears have already started coming to the bee hives. Baiting may serve as an attractant where bears have not been a problem.
- Bait the wires on the electric fence in order to direct a mild shock onto the muzzle area of a black bear. This makes the fence much more effective, regardless of the size of the bear.
- Bait the wires with either bacon wrapped around the wire on all sides or tin foil and peanut butter.
Fencing is only effective if it is maintained. Every time you visit the site check the following:
- Make sure the wires are tight.
- Change the batteries as needed.
- Drop loops in wires are beneficial.
- Use at least a 70-amp hour battery.
- Consult your supplier for the correct high output fence charger.
- Check voltage with a voltmeter.
- Marine battery terminals and lead composition eyelets resist corrosion.
- Keep wires baited at all times.
- Remove vegetation that may be touching the wires.