We live in rural BC. Bears are a part of nature here. We know it, accept it, and make plans accordingly. We see bears nearly every year, sometimes multiple times.
As beekeepers, we have four permanent bee yards where we keep hives year around. Sometimes they get moved for a week or two to pollinate local cherry orchards, but then they go back to their yard. Each is situated in a farming area where there’s a good mix of wildflowers, alfalfa, clover, etc.
Two of our yards are near bear habitat. Thus, these bee yards have fences around them as advised by both the Conservation Officer and the honey board. The other two yards are in much areas much less likely to be visited by bears.
Winnie-the-Pooh is not the only bear that likes honey! But frankly, they’re more interested in the protein to be found in the brood chambers of a hive than the honey. They can totally destroy a hive.
We found an overturned hive at one of our unprotected bee yards a couple of days ago, with evidence that a bear was the perpetrator. $600.00 and a few hours later Jim had erected an electric net fence around the perimeter of the bee yard, hooked up to a solar-powered battery.
The Conservation Officer came around and set up a bear trap. The main bait, hanging at the front of the trap, is part of a dead lamb, drenched in molasses. When the bear tugs at the bait, the door slams shut behind him.
The CO brought along a piece of pork belly as well, which he chopped into bits outside, near the entrance of the trap. He tossed these into the trap, emptied in a can of sardines, and drizzled more molasses over these.
Then he showed Jim and our mentor, Lew, how to set the trap’s mechanism. It needs to be opened in the evening but closed in the daytime.