Black bears in PA can do a lot of damage to an apiary in a very short time. We have had a few instances of members finding broken equipment and dead bees so we wanted to pass along some links to information on how to protect your hives.
The Pennsylvania Game Commission sent us the following links to information regarding black bears. Electric fences, sometimes powered/charged by small solar panels, seem to be effective and they aren't overly expensive compared to the replacement cost of damaged beehives. The following paragraph is an excerpt from one of the links on how to "train" the bears to respect the fences...
"A biologist in Minnesota reported good success deterring bears from repeated attacks on beehives by using a temporary prefabricated fence with a charger powered only by D-cell flashlight batteries. The key in this instance was liberally applying foil strips smeared with peanut butter and honey to the hot wires about 20 to 24 inches (50 to 60 cm) above ground, about head height for the bears. The strips would be torn off by morning, but the bears respected the jolt they received and did not break down the fence. Solar charged units are also available."
Here are the links to the information on living with black bears and constructing fences to protect our bees and equipment.