Monday, March 3, 2008

Beekeeping - Installing an Electric Fence - Part 1

This is my first year as a beekeeper. Actually, I don't even have bees yet. However, I believe in 'prior proper planning' so I have undertaken a study of my area and have determined that I will need protection against the black bear. I've looked at several methods and have decided on an electric fence. I figure there are many others out there who will be interested in installing their own fence so I am going to document my adventure.

Bee Yard

Beekeeping - Bee YardMy bee yard is about 25 feet by 20 feet. I will only have two hives to start with but built it big enough to expand. I also wanted to be able to work within the fence easily without feeling crowded or having to go in and out a lot. These two pictures show my future bee yard from the yard and the direction the hives openings will face (ESE). The yard is elevated so the bees should be plenty high by the time they get to the my yard.Beekeeping - Bee Yard

For my current setup I have made the following decisions:

  1. Solar fence charger. I do not have easy access to electricity at the site and don't want to fool with changing batteries.

  2. I want to use t-posts instead of wooden posts for ease of installation.

  3. I don't have to be perfect or fancy. If it works good and is sturdy enough for the job then it's good enough for me.

  4. Bears are pretty immune to electric fences unless you get them on the nose or mouth so this fence will be baited with bacon or peanut butter to entice a little lick from our furry friends. Therefore, I don't need the best solar charger. I did go with one that's about middle of the road as I didn't want a real weak one either.

Planning Tool

I used Zareba's planning tool for my initial planning. My local Tractor Supply Company sells Zareba chargers so I thought it made sense to go with them. Their planning tool was very helpful especially when it came to little accessories. I would have forgotten to get clamps for my ground rods and things like that if I had not used this tool.

Supply List

The Zareba tool gave me the following supply list:

  • Fence Controller - SP3 was recommended but I went with the SP10 for some extra pop.

  • T-Posts - I have eight. Seven for the fence and I put the controller on a seperate post.

  • Corner and Line Insulaters - I used the same insulators for both. They stick out 2" and cleared the corners just fine.

  • Jumper clamps - clamps to patch the controller to each line.

  • Grounding rod and clamp - I got a copper rod 4' long and an appropriate clamp.

  • Wire - I need 400'. Bought 1/4 mile as this was the least there was. Plain, high-tensile.

  • Gate kits for t-posts - bought three sets of these

  • Gate handles - basic rubber gate handles

  • Voltage tester - bought the cheap tester. Was curious how many volts I would be pushing on such a short fence.

That's it for part one. For part two I'll start the installation and will have pictures. I hope you enjoy. Feel free to link to this article and leave any appropriate feedback. Thanks!


  1. Ha ha electric fences will stop any bear in his tracks, feel sorry for the fella. Great to see you are a beekeeper, one day hopeful I may get into it at some point, it has always interested me.

  2. Hi! I was surfing and found your blog post... nice! I love your blog. :) Cheers! Sandra. R.