Solar Fencers, Bears, Your Two Cents

Discussion in 'General Beekeeping' started by riverbee, Apr 24, 2012.

  1. riverbee

    riverbee Active Member

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    Blankety blank solar fencer bit the dust again. Looking for advice on what others use to keep bears out, or for those of you who use solar chargers for livestock and pest control. I need a solar unit, 0.15 or much greater joules or carries a charge of up to 7,000 volts +. I need to get another unit up and running quickly,already had a fat coon go to a lot of trouble to climb up past the dead wires.

    (EDIT...i need a solar fencer that charges out anywhere between 7,000 and 8500 volts regardless of the 'joules' it is rated for....7000 volts is plenty for a bear).

    The unit I have been using for the past 7-8 years was a Zareba sp10, POS, junk don’t buy it. I have replaced this unit 3 times now; customer service is questionable at best. I sent this last unit in last spring when it died, for repair under warranty, and they sent me someone else’s unit that had been refurbished. Seriously?!

    Googled some this morning, I saw this one, by Gallagher:

    Gallagher S17 Solar Fencer

    Anyone use this unit? Or have suggestions on another unit you have used and would recommend?
    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. efmesch

    efmesch Active Member

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    Contact Omie about her magic green paint. :lol:
     

  3. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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    A lot of the folks around here use those but I really don't know how effective they are when it comes to bears.
    Find attached a Ontario Ministry report.
    Check out the minimum joules recommended and you can see the S17 is only .17 joule where the report suggests a joule reading of 1 or higher.

    http://www.mnr.gov.on.ca/en/Business/Bearwise/2ColumnSubPage/STEL02_167681.html

    I have been thinking about using a marine battery. I understand they can pack a whallop and hold for about a month or more.
     
  4. AcmeBees

    AcmeBees New Member

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    My mentor from our local club says she uses barbed wire instead of the smooth wire usually sold for fencing. Sorry doen't help your unit question, but she said the PA game official said to use the barbed so it would pentrate through the thick fur instead of laying on top.
     
  5. riverbee

    riverbee Active Member

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    Ef, ever seen a black bear with its backside nailed with a paint ball gun and some bright paint?!

    Perry, thanks for your reply. To your credit in your post, I made a mistake…. I need a solar unit of 0.15 or greater or that has the capacity to put out between 7,000 and 8,500 volts, for black bears. 7, ooo volts is plenty to shock a bear and send it on its way. This can be confusing, joules vs volts. Solar units vary greatly in what is ‘stored’ in joules or what the actual ‘joule’ output is in measured volts. For example, the unit I have been using is rated at 0.15 joules, but its output in volts was rated at and has always read between 7200 and 8500 volts, and sometimes higher. Although the joule rating was lower than 1 joule by the article from Ontario, the 8500 volts the Zareba put out was plenty. Best way I can explain this, one needs a fencer that puts out 7,000 volts or more to take care of black bears. I think I just confused myself lol!:grin:

    Not sure if the unit I posted will take care of a bear, I liked its construction, so will have to email the company for the particulars, how many volts it puts out. (btw, great article by the Ontario Ministry, thank you, that was thoughtful).

    The solar fencers work just as good as the marine batteries, and pack the wallop, and they are very convenient. The batteries will last 3 years or a bit more. The Zareba I have been using(when it doesn’t fail) has set a number of bears off to find something else to poke around in besides my hives.

    I started using this unit about 8 years ago when my hives started getting hit, on the advice of an agent with the USDA aphis (wildlife service’s) for Wisconsin who works with commercial beekeepers. Haven’t had a problem since with bears, but plenty of problems with the fencer going to h#ll.

    Acmebees,
    Thanks for your post and I appreciate it, don’t apologize, and please don’t take offense to my comment about barbed wire. I grew up in Montana and we had lots of livestock. Had to give them protection from many predators. Here in the Midwest it’s different. I use smooth wire for a number of reasons and it does work. If I was dealing with grizzlies, I might have a different thought process. There is a lot of controversy over charged barbed wire vs smooth wire……
    Best I can say say....
    Ever seen livestock or another animal get tangled up in a charged barbed wire fence meant to keep bears out?
    It ain’t pretty.
     
  6. Bens-Bees

    Bens-Bees New Member

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    When bears tore through one of my outyards year before last and nearly wiped me out I just moved what was left of the bees out of the outyard and stopped using that outyard.

    I would have preferred to have gone bear hunting if I thought I could get away with it out of season.
     
  7. riverbee

    riverbee Active Member

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    hi bensbees,
    Anywhere there are bears and bees, the bears will wipe out your apiary, and they will keep coming back. Moving bees to another area where there are bears results in the same problem sooner or later. It is an expensive loss. I have foolishly lost hives to bears. Not anymore. My bees are in a great spot and want to keep them there.

    I am still looking at fencers this morning, my choices are limited locally.
     
  8. riverbee

    riverbee Active Member

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    btw acmebees, i wanted to add this, it is not the wire size used it is the power of the shock delivered to the bear.
     
  9. Bens-Bees

    Bens-Bees New Member

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    Except at my house. I had a black bear walk right past my apiary and my chickens last year without stopping for a snack or coming back for a meal. Haven't seen it since. But you're right that if they do get into the bees once, they'll keep coming back. That yard where the bear(s) nearly wiped out everything was even the home of a police dog trainer so there were lots of german sheppards around the property and it still didn't deter the bear(s) one bit. If that yard had been close to my home instead of an hour drive from me, I'd probably have sat out there with a .45 until it came back and then shot it claiming self-defense... then I'd have made a rug out of it that I could enjoy stomping on every day. If a bear were to tear through my current main apiary, you can bet I'd do just that.
     
  10. riverbee

    riverbee Active Member

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    Ben, lol, dog’s do not deter bears, they’ attract bears’, and they bring them back to you….:grin:

    My rural neighbors were all talking about how to get the bear that took my hives, not once, but twice. At the time it was funny listening to all the ‘scheming’, no one wanted a hefty fine, a night in the pokey, or worse yet, their hunting privileges taken away, and to be honest, I have a good relationship with my area dnr warden and desire to be in the good graces of the dnr and local sheriff for many reasons. If I was personally threatened, a different circumstance.

    Btw, a .45 will not take a bear down, maybe after you empty the cartridge, and by then you will have a charging bear, and then you could claim self defense. To take a bear down with a handgun, and I might add a well placed round, (make sure your will and insurance policies are up to date) you would need what I call an ‘alley shooter’, a magnum; a 41, a 44, or 45 long colt, then again , if the bear is really p#ssed and coming at you, a 12 gauge shotgun.

    Although I do own a number of firearms, and I don’t disagree with you, the loss of bees and equipment is very great. For me, it really comes down to my responsibility to keep the bears from my bees, so a solar fencer with a h*ll of a charge works better for me than explaining to the Wisconsin dnr why there is a dead bear in my bee yard. They don’t take too keenly on it here. My choice over using a firearm….
    wouldn’t mind the rug though:grin:
     
  11. riverbee

    riverbee Active Member

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    So I have been researching solar fencers this week. From what I can find, the Gallagher’s are well made and good reviews. Another option is Parmak fencers, don’t know where the Gallagher’s are made, but the Parmak’s are made in the USA and also good reviews.

    BTW, I neglected to include a link to an excellent pdf from the mn dnr, I had in my files:
    Prevent Damage to Beehives with an Energized Fence.

    Gallagher’s:
    S 17 Kilovolts - No Load - 9 (9000) / 500 Ohm Load - 2 (2000) Stored Energy: 0.17 Joules (Approx.).
    S 20 Kilovolts - No Load - 9 (9000) / 500 Ohm Load - 2.1 (2100) Stored Energy .2 Joules
    B100 Kilovolts - No Load - 8.7 (8700) / 500 Ohm Load - 3.4 (3400) Stored Energy 0.8 Joules (aprrox.).

    These are all weather proof units and appear to be quite durable. A rep from Gallagher’s said that the "S" series energizers are great for small areas. The “S†series chargers all go into a "night saver mode" and the pulses slow from every second to once every three seconds or so. The B100 and above have a constant pulse that doesn't change unless the battery runs low, (sun recharges this every day).

    Parmak’s
    Made in the USA.
    Deluxe Field Solar Pak- 0.75 Joules High 1.8+ ; (1.4 joules on a 25 mile fence); Power Source 6V Solar/Battery; Fence Voltage - Open Circuit 9000; Fence Voltage - 500 ohm 2650; Weatherproof and will operate for 21 days in total darkness

    Magnum Solar Pak 12- Joules Low 1.1 Joules High 3.1+; (3.0 joules on a 30 mile fence); Power Source 12v; Solar/Battery Fence Voltage - Open Circuit 9500; Fence Voltage - 500 ohm 6100; Fence Voltage - 100 ohm 3100. Again weatherproof.

    I do not have to be concerned with the fence miles, just the charge, might be helpful to other keeps with a longer distance to charge a fence but 3.0 joules on the Solar Pak 12 would be my choice, and insurance against bears raiding hives, this is a very powerful unit.

    I have a little different set up with a little bit of an advantage, so I am going to give the Parmak Deluxe Field Solar Pak a try, at 1.4 joules, up to 9,000 volts, plenty to convince a bear to go away and not come back.

    I will give an update after I get this unit up and running.


    pic of bear last august, a young one, but a hive raider: (click on the image for a larger google eye at it)

    pesky bear adam august 2010.jpg
     
  12. Bens-Bees

    Bens-Bees New Member

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    What kinds of prices have you run into?
     
  13. riverbee

    riverbee Active Member

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    hi ben,
    the units i listed run from $160 to $300+, and price can vary depending on where you buy. the parmak deluxe field solar pak is $180 here locally.
    a good website with the best prices and choices on the web is here just to get an idea:
    valleyvetsupply
    let me know if i can help you out.
     
  14. Bens-Bees

    Bens-Bees New Member

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    hmm, still cheaper to buy a box of ammo.
     
  15. efmesch

    efmesch Active Member

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    and get a free bear-hide carpet a a bonus :hunter: :rolling:
     
  16. Tia

    Tia New Member

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    I had a bear cub in my bee yard once. . .knocked over 3 hives before he got the hang of ripping them apart and getting to the good stuff. I finally put up an electric fence which got rid of him, but not before my going out one night to close up the chickens to find him sitting there studying the fence! Having oldtimer's disease, the facts didn't click right in my brain, and I said "Hello, puppy!" As the bear looked up and me and ran off into the woods, my brain finally shifted into gear: "Oh my God!! That's the bear!!!
     
  17. riverbee

    riverbee Active Member

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    tia said:
    "Having oldtimer's disease, the facts didn't click right in my brain, and I said "Hello, puppy!" As the bear looked up and me and ran off into the woods, my brain finally shifted into gear: "Oh my God!! That's the bear!!!"

    That would be similar to reaching for and pulling out a cat from behind a garbage can in the garage, that turned out to be a skunk………:lol:

    Ammo, yeah its cheaper, depends on the value you place on your hives…..with a $200 fencer I won’t have the investment of 10+ hives scattered and destroyed all over a yard.
    A box of shells ? or a solar fencer?
    Hmmmm, let me think this one through……
    10 hives x 2 deep boxes= 20 deep boxes, 9 frames each box = 180 drawn frames.
    supers filled with honey, let’s say 4 on each= 40 super boxes, 8 frames each = 320 drawn frames of honey…..
    how many thousands of bees, not to mention the 10 queens.

    I think I shall choose the fencer and keep the box of ammo as a ‘back up’ for the bear rug:lol:
     
  18. riverbee

    riverbee Active Member

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    update on my solar fencer, or 'box of ammo' to keep bears away from my bees......
    it was a bit of a PIA to install, only because i don't like having things stolen......200 bucks is 200 bucks and will make a thief work for stealing. a would be thief would need a ladder and a sawzall......cordless that is....and a hail mary if i am awake......anyway, the unit has 2 holes on the back to hang from screws or nails. i hung this with carriage bolts, mounted from the inside of the unit, bolted to the opposite side of the wood work, about 3 1/2 " in depth.
    the unit is reading well above 10,000 volts, (the green on the face of the meter) but my digital volt meter (for fencers) is reading 7,400 volts......??? the fence is installed properly but now am wondering if i need to replace my ground rods(3 of them).....decisions, decisions......troubleshooting with parmak. what is an 'easy' method of pulling ground rods out? (they have been in service for awhile).
    i am happy with this unit, seems very waterproof and sturdy, and the solar panel is great.

    [​IMG]