Beekeeping in Vermont...

Jimmy Kalp writes:

Hi Mike,

Just curious..I'm nervous about bears getting at my new hive..anything out there beyond electric fencing? I've got little kids running around the yard, and it's spendy. Do nail boards really work? Mothballs? A combination ? Should I just bite the bullet, and buy the fence? I've never seen bears around my area before, but I know they must be out there somewhere...I've got a dog as well. - Thanks

One of the greatest topics of discussion, when beekeepers get together, is the Black Bear problem. Various solutions come up from the ordinary and mundane, to the bizarre. From radios and lanterns in the apiary at night, to dogs tied on long leads, to poison baits and sharpened sticks, many of the old tricks work...until they don't. A hungry bear will wait until the time is right. Bruin attacks some night when the batteries in the radio go dead, or the dog stays in his house, or you forget to light the lantern.

If you live in an area where there are Black Bears, you have to build a fence. Three strand electric, with a good ground is really all you need. There are a number of good fencing systems out there, available from fencing dealers and farm stores. Because my apiaries are located away from an electrical connection, I use the Gallagher B-11, or the Speedright AN-90. Both run on batteries...either D cell flashlight batteries, or 12 volt deep cycle marine batteries. If you have access to power, so much the better, buy a plug in charger.

Look at a bear fence as insurance. Your beehive and its occupants cost you a pile of cash. Why not protect it? It only takes one night when your guard is down to lose everything. Why take the chance?

- Mike