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  Monday, June 03, 2024
  2 Replies
  174 Visits
I'm a new beekeeper, and I know we have bear in the area.

I'll be electrifying a chain-link fence with electric tape. I'm using the tape because it's in common use here, and many bear already know to avoid it. I'm using T-posts to install the fence, with the proper insulating clips.

My problem is grounding. It's not possible here to install the grounding rod 6'-8' deep. I've been checking online, particularly YouTube videos. It looks like I have two options. I can bury the grounding rod horizontally 1' deep. Though one video wondered if the rod would still work in frozen ground. Or I can alternate hot and ground tape/wire strands on the fence.

Are either of these valis options? If I bury the grounding rod, how do I attach it to the rest of the system? If I alternate between hot and ground strands, I've seen I can use a grounding rod installed 2' deep. Is that right? Can I use the tape for both the hot and ground strands, or do I need to get wire for the ground strands?

And then there's the charger. How many joules of storage do I need? I've seen I need 0.7. I bought my hives from Betterbee and they sell a charger with 0.5 joules. And how much voltage do I need? I've seen 3000, 6000, and 10,000 volts recommended for bear.

Electric fences are new to me and I'm trying to learn what I need to know. I would appreciate all the help I can get!
1 month ago
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#3056
Hello Diane,

The VBA has some good information on setting up your electric fence.

There is a PDF which goes over tips and setup which can be found here: https://www.vermontbeekeepers.org/resources/for-beekeepers/education/protecting-bee-hives-from-bears

There are also past recordings that you can watch from zoom meetings here: https://www.vermontbeekeepers.org/calendar/past-workshop-recordings
There is one recording titled, 'Basics of Apiary Electric Fencing' which should answer most of your questions.

For grounding it sure can be hard to drive in a grounding rod 6'-8' deep in Vermont. Another alternative you could try is to use more than one grounding rod driven in as far as you can.

For output of your charger it's suggested that it have at least a 1.0 joule output.
I had to purchase the 0.7 Joule 15 mile DC fencer at TSC in a pinch this spring. With enough grounding that will put out 10K volts which is adequate. Typically you have moist enough soil here in Vermont to not warrant the recommended grounding depth or multiple tied in rods. In sandy soil you'll need more depth or two rods. Soil with high clay, common here, doesn't need nearly as much grounding as holds moisture. During drought conditions you can pour a bucket of water around the grounding rod.

Bottom line- it pays to have a fence tester to know if you have enough ground. Mine is a cheap one that only tests to 8k volts. If the 8k light is solid you know you have 10k or more and if it barely flickers you're fairly safe but could use more grounding. Anything under 8k is just not enough for bear that have been in hives before. They are very determined.
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