July 31, 2014

Guidance: How to Deal with Bears and Bees

A Bears and bees, illustration by Walter Crane from Baby's Aesop," published in 1887

A Bears and bees, illustration by Walter Crane from Baby’s Aesop,” published in 1887

from information provided by Judy Camuso, Wildlife Biologist, MDIFW

Bears are often hungry in the spring (there is less food available and the females are feeding their young), and spring is when we typically get the most “nuisance” bear complaints. Our primary recommendation to people is pretty basic: remove the food source, so…

  • take down bird feeders,
  • feed pets indoors,
  • keep all trash cleaned up,
  • clean the grill after use,
  • put two strands of electric fence around bee hives, as bears do not like the shock, and one experience is usually enough to keep the bear away, and
  • do NOT use bait (bacon, etc.) on the electric fence, as it could potentially attract more problems and additional wildlife to the area.

If all temptation has been taken care of and the hives have been protected, but the
bear continues to be a problem, MDIFW (Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife) can set up a live trap and relocate the bear.


The Most Work Area Inside Your Electric Fence

by Randy Carr

I remember my calculus teacher well. He always wore cowboy boots and his math problems usually had to do with practical farming solutions. One day he asked, “What dimensions would you use to set-up 100 feet of fencing to get the most area?” Before you start figuring the area on 25′ wide by 25′ long, I’ll tell you that the answer lies in a CIRCLE.

Let’s imagine you have a new electric fence with 84′ of netting. A square would have 21′ sides and its area would be 441 square feet. But the same 84′ of netting arranged in a circle would have an area of 561 square feet. That is 120 more square feet of work space.

I know it’s hard to believe, so let’s look at the proof. A square fence with 84′ of total netting has four 21′ sides (84 ÷ 4 = 21), creating an area of 441 (21 ÷ 21 = 441). A circle with a circumference of 84′ has a diameter of 26.74′ (circumference divided by pi: 84 ÷ 3.14 = 26.74). And the radius is 13.37 (diameter divided in half: 26.74 ÷ 2 = 13.37). With the radius of our circle which is 84′ around, we can calculate the area to be 561 [(radius squared, times pi: (13.37 x 13.37) x 3.14 = 561].

Pros 

  • You get more area from a certain length of fencing by making it a circle.
  • You may confuse a bear who has a favorite “corner.”

Cons 

  • You have to use more fence posts to produce a circular shape.
  • A circle may not always fit with the surrounding landscaping or crops.
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