Unwelcome visit-- from a bear

By apismellifera on Tue, Oct 1, 2013 - 9:21pm

This belongs in the "do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do" department. Even though the town I live in is not exactly wilderness, there are regular sightings of black bears here.  Two of my hives got totally destroyed by a bear less than five miles from my house a few years ago.  So it's good, standard practice here to have an electric fence around hives to discourage bears. 

But, I didn't follow my own advice for two hives in my back yard, and a couple weeks ago, I found one of two hives knocked off its stand, with a lot of very angry bees. Luckily, there was a lot of propolis gumming the frames together, so even though all the supers were knocked off the stand, not a single frame fell out. I decided it must have been a skunk or a raccoon-- the supers were intact, not smashed like I'd seen a few years ago. So I just used a couple of heavy nylon straps to attach both hives tightly together and to the hive stand (2 4x4's on cinder blocks).  No raccoon or skunk could tip over that much weight.

This morning I went out back, and saw the same hive knocked over, straps flung about, frames scraped and dragged off onto the lawn.  A pretty big lilac branch was freshly broken near the side of the hive stand, too, from something with considerable strength.  No question in my mind that this was from a bear. 

This put me in a bad mood for the whole day.  I have now put up a little electric fence around the hives, and I've put a grounded chunk of galvanized screen directly under the fence.  About half an hour ago, I opened up a can of anchovies, put most of them back into the fridge, but I left one in the can and hung it snugly on the fence wire above the grounded screen.  (It was dark, by then, so I saw quite  a nice spark when it connected.) A bear licking that can will remember the experience, I hope, and not visit my hives again.  

I've used this technique before with a piece of bacon on the fence wire, and it has worked really well to train bears to keep away. I just hope the hive can make it through winter now, with all the hits it has taken at a key time of year. 


Carl's picture
Status: Member (Offline)
Joined: Jul 17 2008
Posts: 24
Electric Fence


Sorry to hear of your problem. I hope the hive makes it.

What do you use as the power source for your electric fence?



apismellifera's picture
Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
Joined: Jul 8 2010
Posts: 61
Power source

Hi, Carl,

I now have now tried quite a little collection of fence chargers.  With one exception, all of mine are relatively small (0.15 Joules or so) solar chargers with a small internal 12v. battery.  One bigger charger (2 Joules) powers a much large fence and it runs off an external deep cycle battery charged by a little solar panel.

Since the bear incursion was kind of an emergency, I borrowed a spare A/C powered charger from a friend. It's rare that my hives are ever close enough to use fence charger powered by house current, though.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
Login or Register to post comments