Bear fence alternative: beekeeping on a budget

When I first moved to the north Georgia mountains, I couldn’t afford a bear fence. There were many nights I went to bed hoping and praying that my bees would still be there in the morning. I’m going to show you what I used before getting a bear fence.

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There are many menaces when it comes to beekeeping and I’m not talking about pests & disease.

What I’m referring to is much bigger: tornados, torrential downpours, natural brush fires, intentional arson, flooding, and yes bears. We can’t control the weather but we can try to do something about them rascally bears.

Bears- the fear of every beekeeper

I have seen what bears can do to an apiary. When I was apprenticing in Florida, we arrived one day at a devastating sight: destroyed hive bodies, crushed supers, and frames everywhere.

Here’s what I used in the beginning before my budget could afford a bear fence to make me sleep better at night. And if you’re curious, read my post to find out about the best bear fence you can buy for your apiary.

Bear defense on a budget

I bought something called Nite Guard. Just in case you’ve never heard about it, here’s what it is and how it works.

It’s a small solar-powered black box. During the day it charges up from the sun’s energy. At night it blinks a furious little red light.

Nite Guard used in an apiary to ward off bears
Here’s what I bought several years ago. It has been through heat, snow, torrential rainfall, freezing temps and yet it is still going! Photo by Jonathan Hargus©

It’s made to be able to mount on a post with a single screw. The idea is to buy four of these and mount them on all four sides of the post. This covers just about every direction that a predator can approach from.

The second thing to keep in mind is that it must be mounted at the eye level of the predator it’s intended for.

For example: if you’re trying to discourage and scare away foxes, racoons or opossums from your chicken coop then the lights will be mounted lower than they would for a larger predator.

But for you and I, we’re going for bear!

Here’s the theory about why the Nite Guard works so well as stated by the manufacturer. Jim, the inventor of Nite Guard says this on his website,

Jim became aware of how animal instincts work, and the fact that ALL night animals deeply fear being watched or discovered.

He also became aware of the fact that a flash of light appears as an eye to these animals; and so, that flash triggers fear of being watched, and of having been discovered

This is the idea that helped me rest assured at night, to find my bees safe and sound each morning.

If you live in ‘bear country’ and aren’t sure if you can afford a proper bear fence then I highly recommend Nite Guard as an inexpensive defense against bear in the meantime.

You can get your own through the Amazon link below. I recommend the 4-pack to cover all angles.

Nite Guare apiary protection
I recently caught 3 swarms all in the same area. Since they are outside of my bear fence, I grabbed my faithful Nite Guard and posted it with this nuc, facing south, where a bear is most likely to come from. Photo by Jonathan Hargus©

However, if you are in the market for the best bear fence to protect your girls at night, but you’re not sure where to start looking, I would like to again refer you to my post about getting the best bear fence for your bees.

This will give you the confidence of how to protect your bees the best way possible.

And I would like to point out some a piece of logic I learned from my wife- when calculating the price of a good defense against bear attack consider the cost of just one of your hives. How much money do you have invested in a single beehive?

Your bees are worth it in my opinion. So are mine!

So go ahead and get your Nite Guard at the link below and while you’re saving up for your bear fence, you may as well do your homework and read my post about

I’m glad you’re the kind of beekeeper who cares about your bees. Otherwise you wouldn’t have read this far. Leave me a comment below and tell me what you’ve decided to do about protecting your apiary.

Have you seen my new children’s picture book? Weeds are Wildflowers, let them Bee! is now available on Amazon!! Get yours below 🙂

Until next time remember,

~Weeds are Wildflowers, let them Bee!~

Jonathan Hargus/Beekeeper Extraordinaire

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