Bear Devours Beekeeper’s Harvest

A local beekeeper says an uninvited guest has been dining on his honey.

The beekeeper in Wexford County says the bear has been a problem for years — but never to this extent.

He made a discovery Sunday afternoon though, that now has the DNR taking action.

He keeps his bees in a field in Antioch Township in Mesick.

“If the bees aren’t here and they’re not matured in time to make a crop, there is no crop,” Beekeeper Bob Toppen said.

That’s the situation Bob Toppen is facing after a bear managed to get to his bees in Mesick this weekend.

He had 30 to 40 thousand bees here.

But, now there are less than 700 left.

“So figuring 60 to 100 pounds of honey per hive there’s upwards of $1,000 lost in crops.”

An electric fence would usually be enough to keep a bear out, according to the DNR. But this one decided to climb under, reaching the crop anyway.

“I have gone around so the bear can’t go between the strands run vertical strands so the wires can’t be separated,” Toppen said.

“He did everything we want as far as putting up a fence to keep bears out. Most bears wouldn’t go through this fence,” said DNR Wildlife Technician Vernon Richardson.

So the DNR is going to try and put an end to the problem by setting up a bear trap.

It will be inside the fenced area.

“This way the bear that went through the fence before won’t have any problem going back through the fence again so it will wind up in the trap,” Richardson said.

They’ll return tomorrow to set it up, and bob will check on the trap daily.

They’re whipping up a yummy treat that should have the bear back soon.

“Instant jello powder works pretty well. Marshmallows, black willow sunflower seeds.”

And of course, honey.