Nov. 13 meeting: Bear expert to talk about apiary protection

Black bear investigating a fenced apiary.

Black bear investigating a fenced apiary.

Join the New River Valley Beekeepers Association at 6:30 p.m., Thurs., Nov. 13 at the Montgomery County Health and Human Services Building at 210 Pepper St., Christiansburg to learn more about protecting your bee colonies from bear damage.

Andrew Trent, post approval monitoring officer for Virginia Tech’s Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee and a bear researcher will talk about bear behavior and ways to help prevent apiary damage.

Bear researcher and New River Valley beekeeper Andrew Trent will talk about bear damage prevention at the Nov. 14 NRVBA meeting.

Bear researcher and New River Valley beekeeper Andrew Trent will talk about bear damage prevention at the Nov. 14 NRVBA meeting.

Trent’s research has included ways to manage and prevent conflicts between bear and humans. He recently worked on a study of bear behavior to help the N.C. Department of Transportation and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reduce bear-vehicle crashes on U.S. 64 near the Outer Banks, according to Tech news release.

In addition to his wildlife research, Trent and his wife, Tiffany Trent, live in the New River Valley, where the couple keeps bees.

Black bears were nearly wiped out in most areas of Virginia by 1900, but since the 1950s, land reclamation and bear restoration efforts have expanded their range and number.

The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (read the state’s bear management plan) estimates bear population densities from about 1.5 bears per square mile in the Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge to about 3.5 bears per square mile in some Alleghany Mountain areas of Rockingham County.

Their increasing numbers across the state pose damage risks to crops and livestock, as well as managed honey bee colonies in rural and forested areas.

In addition to Trent’s talk, we’ll have the monthly equipment raffle and a discussion of managing colonies going into winter.

Please bring a drink or snack to share at the last NRVBA meeting of the  year.

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