Just thought I’d pass along some info on bear protection . . .
I live right next to an old growth forest on a mountainside in West Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. We often see wildlife in the yard, including raccoons, coyotes, rabbits, skunks, cougars, and yes, BEARS! I needed to find a way to bear-proof my two Flow Hives when I first installed them.
I housed them inside a PVC storage shed that I purchased from Costco. I devised a way of giving the bees access to the hives via 3/4" PVC piping that goes through the wall of the shed to an outside landing assembly. Please see the photos here:
Please note that you will need to download the photos from my Google Drive, as they will only be there for a short time as my drive is full.
I removed the original landing board on the Flow Hive and installed a PVC pipe assembly in its place, using WRC clamps I made up. I mounted them using the existing holes for the landing board and screws. The pipe assembly is made up of three 3/4" PVC tees connected with 2-1/8" lengths of pipe and capped at the ends using PVC cement. The PVC pipe assembly is then cut lengthwise right down the middle on a table saw at an angle of 6 degrees in order to offset the slope of the Flow Hive.
These tees are then connected through the wall of the shed with three 6-inch 3/4" pipes to another tee assembly outside the shed using just a dry fit - no cement. The construction is identical to the above, but the pipe assembly is then cut lengthwise to open up a 90 degree slot which ends up facing downwards when mounted. This does two things - it prevents rain water from getting into the entrance of the hive, and it also reduces the chances of wax moths getting into the hive, as they do not have the ability to hover to get up into the entrance. I then put some petroleum jelly around the necks of the tees both inside and outside the shed, in order to prevent ants from getting into the hive.
The bees quite love the setup - I’ve already had to split a hive that I started with a nuc in April.
My bear protection system was put to the test a couple of nights ago. A bear (or bears) decided it wanted a taste of honey. It pawed and gnawed on the shed in several places trying to get in. It knocked the outer landing assemblies off both hives and then proceeded to chew on the three pipes exiting one of the hives. Originally, I had cemented the pipes to the inner tee assembly. As the bear gnawed on the pipes outside the hive, he broke the inner tee assembly into three pieces and also broke one of the WRC mounting clamps. In the end, he wasn’t successful at getting any honey! I suspect he got stung a few times in the mouth, as there were a few dead bees laying around. I slept through the whole thing, and didn’t find the damage until later in the morning.
I have since replaced the broken parts, but this time I just dry-fit the pipes going through the wall rather than using cement. I also moved the hive inward until the outer hive landing assembly was flush with the outer shed wall. Hopefully this will prevent the bear from causing the same damage again. At best, he might be able to bite on a piece of pipe and pull it out of the wall, but he won’t break the inner assembly.
This system worked for me - please feel free to pass along the info to anyone else with bear problems!