If your hives are located in the area with wild animals like bears raccoons and skunks you will have to make additional steps to protect you hives. The smell of honey will attract them to pay a visit to your hive and not only you will stay without honey but also they will cause damage to your apiary that will cost you too much.
To prevent it from happening here are the steps you should take to protect the hive from the Bears and other unwanted intruders
1.Proper hive location
3.Motion detectors with alarm
4.Putting the hive on the roof
5.Motion detectors with alarm
6.Nightguard solar light
7.Keeping apiary clean
These are the steps in short in case you want to know more details and get some helpful tips,please keep reading
Hives and Bears
Although they are cute on TV they can cause you a great deal of stress when it comes to beekeeping so not only you have to protect your bees from disease, wasps, other bees you have to protect them from bears. Even dough your hive is in danger year around, spring and fall are especially risky period.In spring the bears are out of hibernation so very hungry after a winter sleep.In Fall they are preparing for the winter so to build their fat they will look for honey if it is in their territory.
In case it happens that bear got to your honey you should move your apiary to a different location because once they get the honey noting will stop them to come again for a night visit. Even several times for one night.
1.Setting up an Electric Fence
One of the best ways to protect your hives is a low voltage electric fence. The solar charger will bring enough electricity to shock the bear but not causing injuries.
The main trick is to make the bear sniff or even touch the fence with his tongue because his fur and skin are thick so it will not make the desired effect. So the best way to introduce the fence to a bear is to put some bacon or peanut butter over it and that should make bear smell or lick the treat. That way he will get shocked at the right place and he will learn to avoid your fence. Sounds a bit harsh but they have to learn to stay away.
Raccoons are smart animals and very good climbers, and they will find a way to get to your honey. So electric fence is very help-full dealing with them. You should also place, a heavy rock over the hive cover to prevent them to tip it over if they somehow manage to go over the fence.
Skunks can dig under the fence so you in case you are on their territory you should dig in your fence at least 3 inches down and extend it at least 10 inches away or outward from the area you protect.It will prevent them dig under the wire.
Make sure you test your fence from time to time and cut down all the vegetation underneath the fence because it can weaken the charger and it will not function properly.
Also if there is a tree with a branch that is leaning over the hive you should remove it because bear can climb over it and get to your hives avoiding the fence.
Precaution: In case you are using higher voltage make sure to take all precautions to keep children and other family members safe when the fence is in use. In case you have pets make sure they are not able to get in touch with electric fence
Before you start building the fence first take into account that the should be at least 4 feet away from the hives because bears are able to reach through the fence and tip it over. Also, make enough space for future expansion because you want to avoid additional work later.
In case you already had damage to your hives that was caused by a bear you should contact your local conservation department. There is a possibility that you get a refund for the damages and even get financial support for installing the electric fence.
Here is the video how to make an electric fence by Russ Talmo so you can get an idea of how to do it.
2.Motion Detector with Alarm
Motion activated detectors release loud noise and flashing light that scares the wild animals. It is a great additional protective measure combining with a fence that will help you to keep the bears and other wild animals away.
They are easy to set up and use. Depending on the model they have a different range of activation. There are models that are charged with batteries so in case you do not have a power socket (and you probably don’t 🙂 ) it is a good alternative.
Choose the model that has waterproof protection for outdoor use. The only thing is you have to change the battery every once in a while.
3.Night Guard Solar light
This product will help you to keep away bears, raccoons, and skunks in a humane way that works well. Nightguard flashes red light that will appear as blinking eyes of another animal and a potential threat that will make them go the other way. So your hive will stay unharmed.
Nightguard is powered by solar energy so no need for changing batteries just make sure it has enough sunlight to charge.
Easy to install, fully waterproof (designed for outdoor use) and automatically activates as soon as the sun goes down. It has enough power to work all night long. Combining it with the electric fence will keep bears raccoons and skunks away from your hives.
4.Proper hive positioning
Locating your hives is crucial for making it less attractive to bears. You should keep it away from the woods at least 300 feet and cut all the high grass surrounding the hives. Bears like to use natural protection and avoiding to bee in the open. In case there is any trace that bears use that area as a trail choose another spot. Crucial is to keep you entire apiary clean of any wax or honey residual that will attract the bears.
To prevent skunks getting to your hive you should place your hive lifted from the ground. Place it on any kind of stand to make the skunk take an upright position and expose his underbelly. Your bees will have more chance to fight back.
5.Putting Hives on the Rooftop
Not to popular but very effective way, if you are able to put your hives on a roof-top where they will be hard to reach. Just make sure there is no tree or structure that can be used climbing because bears are very resourceful and if they sense the honey they will do anything to get it. After each visit to your hives do not forget to remove the leathers because bears could use them. As an additional measure put motion detectors around the ground structure as a precaution to scare them off and you are set.