Bear attacks bee hives in East Mountains

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – It’s like something out of a cartoon. A beekeeper in the East Mountains woke up to find his hives have been ransacked. The culprit is a hungry bear.

Jason Kitting, 23, became New Mexico’s youngest beekeeper at age 12.

He and his father started two bee hives to help with pollination, but they faced an obstacle last weekend.

“It was pretty detrimental seeing it,” Kitting said. “You come out here one morning expecting everything to be okay and everything is gone,” he said.

A bear attacked the hives Friday night and again Sunday night.

“Bees everywhere in the air, on the frames. The boxes were flipped over all over the place,” he said. “I just assumed the hives were dead at that point. I didn’t think we’d manage to pull at least one out of it,” said Kitting.

The state has a solution.

Ross Morgan, with the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish, said, “We came out, we were able to put this fence around and that prevents those bears from coming in and damaging people’s property.”

New Mexico Game and Fish put up this solar-powered electric fence for the Kittings to keep the bears at bay.

“In the East Mountains, this can be pretty common,” said Morgan.

Bees are some of the planet’s hardest working creatures, but thanks to a bear who was busy as a bee, the honeybees raised by the Kittings are now a month and a half behind schedule.

“So for what it was, we actually lucked out a lot,” said Kitting.

The New Mexico Department of Game and Fish has put up 170 fences statewide to protect property, like beehives and crops, from wildlife. When you buy a big game license, $3 goes into that fund for fences.

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