Demand for commercial bee (Apis mellifera) services recently has increased, resulting in greater use of mobile apiaries for crop pollination. When commercial apiaries are moved into areas occupied by black bears (Ursus americanus), conflicts between beekeepers and bears sometimes occur. Commercial pollination often involves moving apiaries among agricultural fields, and, thus, permanent fencing is not a viable option for reducing damage by bears. In 2010, we tested the effectiveness of 4 temporary electric fence designs for excluding black bears from bait sites in northern Michigan. We determined the effectiveness of each fence design by observing bear behavior obtained from 24-hour video surveillance. From >433 minutes of bear–fence interactions (BFI), we recorded 168 BFIs in 73 visits by an estimated 15 bears. The only fence design deemed 100% effective at excluding bears consisted of 3 polytape strands charged with 5,000 V and spaced 0.58, 0.39, and 0.23 m from the ground, respectively. Proper fence construction and maintenance are critical elements of effectiveness, and we provide guidance on each. Our results demonstrate that low-cost temporary fencing can be an effective tool for excluding bears from localized sites, such as apiaries.
Otto, Tammy E. and Roloff, Gary J.
"Black Bear Exclusion Fences to Protect Mobile Apiaries,"
Human–Wildlife Interactions: Vol. 9
, Article 8.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.usu.edu/hwi/vol9/iss1/8