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Bears becoming a nuisance for local beekeepers

By: Hillary Thornton Email
By: Hillary Thornton Email

EOLIA, Ky. (WYMT) - Moving from the garbage can to beehives.

Back bears are becoming a common sight this time of year in Eastern Kentucky, but for some Letcher County beekeepers they are becoming a nuisance.

It is a sight folks along Smith Creek Road in Letcher County are becoming too familiar with.

"Everyone is on alert, every night when the dogs start barking everyone is looking for the bears," says Machaela Lee.

The bears have found a 'bear jackpot' on local beekeeper, Carl Church's property.

Church says a bear broke through a window he now has boarded up to get into his out building where he keeps some bee hives.

"I just walked in there and saw my bees all torn to pieces," says Church.

It is not the first time bears have ditched the garbage cans for something sweeter.

Lee explains, "They've gotten to the bees before, they've gotten to our bee trees, and to the berry patches near the house."

Unfortunately, it will probably not be the last time.

"They'll get into the brood and take the brood...that is what they are after and they'll just tear a hive open and eat all the young bees," says Lee.

Causing the local beekeepers harvest to decline.

Lee says, "It really slows down our production when a bear gets into the hive, especially if they get the queen bee and we have to put the young bees back in... pretty much build it back up through the year."

Church says he knows why he saw that bear back at this building just hours after the break-in, "It must have liked that honey."

The beekeepers say they've seen multiple bears on their property, including a mom and two cubs.

They say fish and wildlife is coming to put a fence up around the building with the bees.


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